BUSINESS

France's Alstom to pay U.S. a record $772 million for foreign bribery

France's Alstom to pay $772-million fine to settle U.S. charges of bribery in Indonesia, Egypt, elsewhere

The Justice Department on Monday announced that a French power and transportation company had agreed to pay the largest criminal fine ever under a U.S. law that prohibits bribery of foreign officials.

Alstom, which is about to sell most of its power business to General Electric Co., has agreed to pay $772 million and admit that it paid bribes to officials in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Taiwan and the Bahamas, according to Deputy Atty. Gen. James M. Cole.

Alstom pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Connecticut to two charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Justice Department said. The settlement also involved two U.S. subsidiaries, Alstom Power Inc., based in Connecticut, and Alstom Grid Inc., based in New Jersey.

The Justice Department said Alstom had admitted to bribing a high-ranking member of the Indonesian parliament and officials of the country’s state-owned electricity company in return for help winning contracts worth $375 million.

In all Alstom paid more than $75 million in bribes to win $4 billion in contracts around the world, the Justice Department said.

GE reached an agreement in June to buy most of Alstom’s energy business for more than $15 billion. The settlement announced Monday will allow the sale to proceed.

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