French engineering group Alstom has agreed to pay US$700m to settle corruption charges brought by US prosecutors relating to alleged bribes paid in Indonesia and other countries, according to reports.
The settlement, to be announced within the next few days, comes as US conglomerate General Electric (GE) nears completion of a deal to buy key Alstom assets.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has accused Alstom under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of bribing officials in Indonesia to win a US$118m energy contract in the early 2000s. Alstom partnered with Japanese firm Marubeni, which has also been involved in the investigation.
Two Alstom offices in Indonesia were searched in July 2012 as part of the probe and at least four French Alstom officials have been indicted in relation to the case.
The impending Alstom settlement is bigger than a US$450m payment agreed by the DoJ and Siemens in 2008 to settle FCPA allegations that the German company bribed officials in several countries.
The latest case focuses on the role of Alstom’s US subsidiary in Connecticut, where some of the officials allegedly involved in the bribes worked. The settlement would remove an obstacle to GE’s deal to buy the majority of the French group’s energy assets for €12.4bn (US$15.5bn).
Alstom shareholders are scheduled to vote on December 19 on the GE deal.
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