HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Alstom faces UK bribery charge for India project

Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times  London, July 24, 2014
First Published: 23:46 IST(24/7/2014) | Last Updated: 23:56 IST(24/7/2014)

Following months of investigations that included interaction with India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on Thursday initiated criminal proceedings against Alstom Network UK Ltd on charges of bribery.

The first hearing is scheduled at the Westminster Magistrates Court on September 9. The alleged offences are said to have taken place between June 1, 2000 and November 30, 2006 and concern large transport projects in India, Poland and Tunisia.

The case against Alstom  comes just weeks after the French parent agreed a $16.7-billion sale of most of its power business to US’s General Electric.

The SFO did not release details of the India-related case, but it is understood that they relate to Alstom’s contract with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. Alstom is a manufacturer in the rail, power and electricity transmission sectors. “As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot go into further detail,” an SFO spokesman told HT.

However, a communique by SFO said: “As part of an ongoing investigation, criminal proceedings by the SFO have commenced today against an Alstom company in the UK by written charge”.

“Alstom Network UK Ltd, formerly called Alstom International Ltd, a UK subsidiary of Alstom, has been charged with three offences of corruption contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, as well as three offences of Conspiracy to Corrupt contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977,” it added.

The SFO investigation commenced as a result of information provided to the SFO by the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland concerning Alstom Network UK Ltd.

“The SFO has indicated that it has initiated proceedings against a UK subsidiary of Alstom SA. We are in ongoing communications with the SFO about its investigation and will continue to work with the SFO to seek a fair and appropriate resolution,” an Alstom spokesperson told HT.

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