MIAMI (CN) – Alcatel-Lucent, a French telecom, will pay $137 million to settle federal charges of bribing foreign officials to win contracts in Latin America and Asia. Alcatel will pay $45 million to settle SEC charges and another $92 million to settle criminal charges, prosecutors said in announcing the settlements Monday.
Alcatel bribed officials with more than $8 million to get or retain “lucrative” telecom contracts in Costa Rica, Honduras, Malaysia and Taiwan, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, prosecutors said.
“An Alcatel subsidiary provided at least $14.5 million to consulting firms through sham consulting agreements for use in the bribery scheme in Costa Rica,” the SEC said in a statement announcing its settlement. “Various high-level government officials in Costa Rica received at least $7 million of the $14.5 million to ensure Alcatel obtained or retained three contracts to provide telephone services in Costa Rica.”
It bribed officials in the other three countries in a similar manner, and “the leaders of several Alcatel subsidiaries and geographical regions, including some who reported directly to Alcatel’s executive committee, either knew or were severely reckless in not knowing about the misconduct,” the SEC said.
As is customary in such arrangements, Alcatel will cough up the simoleons without admitting that it did anything wrong. The deferred prosecution agreement subjects the company to 3 years of monitoring to be sure that it does not do anything wrong again.