Suspecting corruption in the 2013 award of a metro project in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dutch authorities have raided the offices of infrastructure group Strukton.
Strukton said yesterday it was "unpleasantly surprised" by the raid on 15 February conducted by the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD).
Strukton’s visualisation of the Riyadh metro
It denied ever paying bribes, and has described circumstances of the tender by the FAST consortium, consisting of FCC, Alstom, Samsung and Strukton, for the metro project.
"These events affect me personally and I am very sorry for all Strukton employees," said Strukton chief executive Gerard Sanderink.
"I think it is important to emphasise that there is no question of bribery whatsoever. The project was awarded based on the lowest price."
Strukton had a limited role in the consortium with share of around 15%, the company said.
The consortium’s tender was submitted to the customer on 20 February 2013, and offered the lowest price for all six lines to be built, it said.
In the end FAST got the contract for three of the lines – 4, 5 and 6 – with the other lines going to two other consortia.
"We have now received some further information and we have been told that the FIOD based the decision for the raid on audits by the tax authorities, leading to suspicion of corruption and false declarations when obtaining a contract for the metro project in Riyadh. We fully cooperate and provide full insight to the FIOD," Strukton said in its statement.
Strukton described the appointment of a company called Somo as an agent for the Riyadh project.
Somo received a fixed percentage of the contract sum for its work to "facilitate us in this major, logistic challenge in a busy metropolis during the years of execution", Strukton said, adding Somo had no role in the pricing and submission of the tender.
Payments to Somo were all transparent and traceable, Strukton said.
Somo also provided "support by eliminating obstacles preventing us to operate in e.g. the case of political unrest", the company said.