Colas Rail tries to offload foreign contract after finding “suspicious payments”

French railway builder Colas Rail has filed a complaint in France about "suspicious payments" to consultants on an international project, and is trying to offload the contract amid what it calls an "unacceptable situation".

The firm, a subsidiary of Colas which is part of Bouygues, did not name the project or the country involved but said the payments were made both in euros and a "local currency", suggesting it is outside the eurozone.

The consultants have been fired and the firm is now talking to a local company about transferring the whole contract, for which construction has already begun.

It will "cooperate fully with the judicial authorities", the firm said in a statement on 13 October.

Since January last year Colas Rail has announced contract wins including extending the Algiers Metro in Algeria, the Cairo Metro in Egypt, and a tram network in Birmingham, UK.

Other recent contracts include maintenance for the Santiago de Chile metro in Chile and an extension of the Rabat tramway (pictured) in Morocco.

Its statement read: "An internal audit and an external investigation requested by Colas Rail, a subsidiary of Colas, have revealed that suspicious payments in euros and in local currency were made to local consultants in a foreign subsidiary of Colas Rail.

"Faced with this unacceptable situation, Colas Rail has filed a complaint in France. The contracts of these consultants have been withdrawn and all payments prohibited.

"In consultation with the client, Colas Rail has initiated discussions with a recognized local company to transfer the construction contract, for which work has already begun. This solution, if successful, should not have significant economic impact on the Colas Group.

"Colas Rail and Colas will cooperate fully with the judicial authorities. The Group immediately took disciplinary action and reinforced both its internal control system and compliance program."

Image: Colas Rail’s recent international contracts include extending the Rabat tramway in Morocco. The photograph is for illustration purposes and no connection to the incident reported here is implied (Colas Rail)

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  1. more cases of big golden handshakes looks like Colas Group have acted swiftly in this case. i think that in the countries of the world mentioned ( outside Europe) these payments are still the norm if you want to do big buisness

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