Shares in Alstom have fallen sharply on the growing likelihood that the French engineering group faces a hefty fine in the US as the result of a bribery investigation focused on Asia.
An Alstom spokesperson confirmed that the group is cooperating with the US Department of Justice (DoJ), but declined to speculate on the findings of the investigation or the size of any settlement as talks had not yet begun with US investigators.
According to reports, Alstom is charged with hindering the US investigation of possible bribery in Indonesia and now faces a widened investigation that extends to power projects in China and India. The case could result in one of the largest US anti-corruption fines on record, potentially on a par with the US$800m settlement agreed by German group Siemens in 2008 to resolve bribery charges.
Three of the 10 largest bribery settlements paid in the US have involved French companies: in May 2013 oil producer Total agreed a US$398m payment, while in 2010 engineering and construction group Technip was fined US$338m and telecoms equipment group Alcatel-Lucent received a US$137m penalty.
Last month, French bank BNP Paribas said that it had set aside US$1.1bn in potential costs related to a probe that it dealt with sanctioned countries or entities.
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