US fines Alstom $772m for ‘astounding’ history of international bribery

French engineer Alstom has been fined a record $772m by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for corruption in foreign countries. 

Alstom pleaded guilty to paying more than $75m in bribes to government officials in countries such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The bribes resulted in Alstom winning projects worth more than $4bn and gaining profits estimated at $300m. 

The company has also admitted to "violating" its books to hide the bribery. 

Patrick Kron, Alstom’s chief executive, said: "There were a number of problems in the past and we deeply regret that. However, this resolution with the DoJ allows Alstom to put this issue behind us and to continue our efforts to ensure that business is conducted in a responsible way, consistent with the highest ethical standards." 

James Cole, the US’ deputy attorney general, said: "Alstom’s corruption scheme was sustained over more than a decade and across several continents. It was astounding in its breadth, its brazenness and its worldwide consequences. 

"It is both my expectation and my intention that the comprehensive resolution we are announcing today will send an unmistakable message to other companies around the world that this DoJ will be relentless in rooting out and punishing corruption to fullest extent of the law." 

An Alstom consortium recently announced that it was to finish work on a $1.4bn Sydney light rail scheme a year ahead of schedule.

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