French power and transportation company Alstom SA has agreed to pay $772 million in penalties to the United States to resolve allegations that it bribed government officials in multiple foreign countries. Justice Department officials said on Monday the company would plead guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The development could have an impact in India as Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has already charged Alstom Network UK Ltd, a British subsidiary of the engineering major, with paying more than 3 million euros (Rs 24.3 crore approximately) in bribes to officials and agents of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to secure train control, signalling and telecommunications system contracts for Metro Phase 1. Alstom reportedly paid off the money disguising it as consulting fees.
The US settlement marks the largest ever criminal fine levied by the country against a company for violation of foreign bribery laws. The justice department said Alstom paid more than $75 million to secure $4 billion in projects around the world.
Earlier in the day, Britain's SFO charged a second British subsidiary of Alstom, Alstom Power Ltd, with bribing officials to secure a power contract in Lithuania.
(With inputs from HTC London)