UK court acquits Alstom ex-officials in Delhi Metro bribery case
Two former officials of rail transport major Alstom accused of bribing officials of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to secure contracts in its Phase 1 construction have been acquitted by a UK court following a nearly 10-year investigation.
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had brought charges against the two officials – Graham Hill and Robert Hallett – as part of a wider investigation into suspected payment of bribes by companies within the Alstom group in the UK in 2009 as a result of information provided by the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland.
Hill and Hallett were charged alongside the company in relation to bribing DMRC officials during the Delhi Metro Phase 1 between August 1, 2000 and August 9, 2006.
Hill, 74, was senior vice president in Alstom’s Country Network based in Paris and a director of Alstom International Ltd., while Hallett, 55, was managing director of Alstom Transport India.
The SFO confirmed to Hindustan Times on Friday that reporting restrictions had now been lifted by the court hearing the complex case that investigated the company’s activities in India, Poland, Tunisia, Lithuania and Hungary.
“Graham Hill and Robert Hallett were charged alongside the company in relation to alleged corruption to win tram and signalling equipment contracts in India and Poland. They were acquitted of all charges”, an SFO statement said.
Documents submitted in court had alleged that Hill and Hallett “did corruptly give or agree to give” the sum of Rs 19,895,000 disguised as payments in respect of a Consultancy Agreement with Indo European Ventures Pte Ltd dated September 12, 2001; and the sum of 3,131,600 euros disguised as a payment in respect of a Consultancy Agreement with Global King Technology Ltd dated May 3, 2002.
The payments were allegedly given “as inducements or rewards for showing favour to the Alstom Group in relation to the award or performance of a contract with the said Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd for a Train Control, Signalling and Telecommunications System for the Delhi Metro Phase 1”, the documents stated.
The two were acquitted in the DMRC case, but five others and Alstom were convicted in relation to other projects.
The company has appealed against conviction in the Tunisia case, while on its conviction in the Lithuania case, the project has not been handled by Alstom since the sale of Alstom’s Energy Businesses to General Electric in November 2015.
“Alstom has a strong compliance programme, which focuses on the strict respect of laws and regulations in force in all countries in which the group operates, with prevention of corruption measures as a top priority”, the company said in a statement.
“Alstom rules address and set clear guidelines for dealings with public authorities and customers and other areas of corruption risk. Alstom constantly seeks to improve its compliance programme and implement best in class compliance rules and processes”.