Alstom Network U.K., the British subsidiary of the French rail and power company, has been ordered to pay a total of £16.4 million (U.S. $20.8 million) for bribes it paid to win a contract to supply trams in Tunisia.
The sentence, which resulted in a £15 million (U.S. $19 million) fine and £1.4 million (U.S. $1.8 million) in costs, brings to an end a case the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) began investigating in 2009 following a tip by Swiss authorities and which has involved cooperation with agencies from over 30 countries worldwide.
Lisa Osofsky, SFO director, said in a statement Monday: “It shows that we will work tirelessly with law enforcement around the world to root out bribery and corruption.”
Alstom Network was convicted in April 2018 of conspiracy to corrupt, having paid an intermediary called Construction et Gestion Nevco (Nevco) €2.4 million (U.S. $2.6 million) to secure a €79.9 million (U.S. $86.6 million) contract with Transtu, the company responsible for running the Tunis Metro.
The wide-ranging investigation into Alstom’s activities has seen three individuals and two of the company’s U.K. business units, Alstom Network U.K. and Alstom Power Ltd, convicted of conspiracy to corrupt.
Last December, Alstom Power pleaded guilty to bribing senior Lithuanian figures in order to win contracts to upgrade and refit a power station. Alstom Power was fined more than £6 million (U.S. $7.6 million), required to pay nearly £11 million (U.S. $14 million) in compensation and ordered to pay £700,000 (U.S. $888,500) in costs.
Three managers also received a mix of prison sentences and fines. John Venskus and Göran Wikström pleaded guilty to bribing public officials, receiving sentences of 42 months and 31 months, respectively, as well as ordered to pay costs of £410,000 (U.S. $520,000) and £40,000 (U.S. $51,000). Nicholas Reynolds, meanwhile, was found guilty of the same conduct and received a four-and-a-half-year sentence and a £50,000 (U.S. $63,500) fine.
Yet, not everything has gone the SFO’s way with its investigation into Alstom. The company—as well as Graham Hill, a former senior vice president based in Paris, and Robert Hallett, a former managing director of Alstom Transport India—were acquitted over separate charges of alleged corruption in relation to transport contracts in India and Poland.
And, in November 2018, Alstom Network and three more individuals—employee Michael Anderson, Terrence Watson (the president of Alstom’s U.K. operations and managing director of Alstom Transport U.K. & Ireland), and Jean-Daniel Lainé (the company’s senior vice president for ethics and compliance)—were acquitted of charges in relation to allegations of bribery over a €229 million (U.S. $248.3 million) contract to provide rolling stock for the Budapest Metro System.
In an e-mailed statement, Alstom said “this is the only conviction out of four charges brought by the SFO against Alstom Network U.K. relating to transport projects” and added “over the past ten years there have been significant changes within the Alstom Group, not only structurally and in relation to fields in which it operates, but also in relation to culture and personnel. Alstom is committed to being a leading company for the purposes of ethics and compliance, not only in France but also internationally.”