Ericsson agrees to pay more than $1.36b to settle bribery charges
WASHINGTON Swedish telecom company Ericsson has agreed to pay more than US$1 billion (S$1.36 billion) to resolve allegations of bribery spanning Asia and the Middle East, the US Justice Department said on Friday.
An Egyptian subsidiary also pleaded guilty in a federal court in New York to a charge of conspiring to violate the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
"Ericsson's corrupt conduct involved high-level executives and spanned 17 years and at least five countries, all in a misguided effort to increase profits," Mr Brian Benczkowski, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, said in a statement.
Prosecutors said between 2000 and 2016, the company engaged in a scheme to pay bribes, falsify its books and records and ensure company officials turned a blind eye to the corruption, said the Justice Department statement.
Alleged corruption occurred in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait.
Among other examples, Ericsson admitted during those years it channelled tens of millions of dollars through consultants and service providers in China, creating a slush fund to lavish gifts, travel and entertainment on foreign officials to win business from state-owned telecom companies.
In a statement on its website, the company said it would not comment on the matter other than to say the figure of US$1.2 billion, disclosed in September, "is still its current estimate of the amounts needed to cover the monetary sanctions" and other costs.
The funds are to be split between the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the Justice Department. - AFP