Home News Court orders Alstom Network UK Ltd to pay £16.4 million for conspiracy to corrupt

Court orders Alstom Network UK Ltd to pay £16.4 million for conspiracy to corrupt

by Brian Sims

Alstom Network UK Ltd has been ordered to pay a total of £16.4 million for conspiracy to corrupt relating to a contract to supply trams in Tunisia. This sentence comprises £15 million in fines and £1.4 million in costs.

The company was convicted in April 2018 of conspiracy to corrupt, having paid an intermediary called Construction et Gestion Nevco Inc (Nevco) €2.4 million to secure a €79.9 million contract with Transtu, the company responsible for running the Tunis Metro.

To satisfy internal compliance checks and make its agreement with Nevco appear a legitimate contract for services, Alstom helped to produce paperwork as ‘evidence’ of services rendered. In reality, Nevco was simply a conduit for bribes. This was acknowledged by Alstom Network UK Ltd itself when it decided not to make a final payment of €240,000 in its original €2.64 million contract.

Graham Hill, Robert Hallett and Alstom Network UK were acquitted in the same trial of alleged corruption in relation to transport contracts in India and Poland.

This is the latest sentence in the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) Alstom case which has seen three individuals, Alstom Network UK Ltd and Alstom Power Ltd convicted of conspiracy to corrupt.

Lisa Osofsky, director of the SFO, said: “This sentencing brings to an end a case which involved co-operation from over 30 countries and concerned conduct across Europe and beyond. It shows that we will work tirelessly with law enforcement around the world to root out bribery and corruption.”

Detail of the investigation

Lisa Osofsky

Lisa Osofsky

The SFO’s wide-ranging investigation arose from the actions of Alstom subsidiaries in power and transport projects in Europe and around the world. In addition to the conviction of Alstom Network UK Ltd for bribery in relation to the Tunisian contract, John Venskus, Göran Wikström and Alstom Power Ltd pleaded guilty to bribing senior Lithuanian figures in order to win contracts to upgrade and refit a power station, the Lithuanian Power Plant, with tenders invited by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

Alstom Group companies paid over €5 million in bribes to secure the €240 million contract. Papers were falsified to circumvent checks put in place to prevent bribery by Alstom staff responsible for preventing corruption.

Alstom Power Ltd was fined more than £6 million, required to pay nearly £11 million in compensation and ordered to pay £700,000 in costs. John Venskus received a three years and six months sentence and was ordered to pay £410,000 of costs, while Göran Wikström received two years and seven months’ imprisonment and was ordered to pay £40,000 in costs.

A third individual, Nicholas Reynolds, was found guilty by a Jury of the same conduct, being sentenced to four years and six months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay £50,000 in costs.

Alstom Network UK and three more individuals – Michael Anderson, Jean-Daniel Lainé and Terrence Watson – were also charged in relation to allegations of bribery over a €229 million contract to provide rolling stock for the Budapest Metro system. All defendants were acquitted by a Jury in November last year.

The SFO’s investigation involved co-operation from countries including France, Canada, the USA, Hungary, Denmark, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, India, Sweden, Lithuania, Switzerland and Tunisia.

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