Court orders Alstom Network UK Ltd to pay £16.4 million
25 November, 2019 | Case Updates
Alstom Network UK Ltd has today been ordered to pay a total of £16.4 million for conspiracy to corrupt relating to a contract to supply trams in Tunisia. This sentence comprises £15 million in fines and £1.4 million in costs.
The company was convicted in April 2018 of conspiracy to corrupt, having paid an intermediary called Construction et Gestion Nevco Inc. (Nevco) €2.4 million to secure an €79.9 million contract with Transtu, the company responsible for running the Tunis Metro. To satisfy internal compliance checks and make its agreement with Nevco appear a legitimate contract for services, Alstom helped to produce paperwork as ‘evidence’ of services rendered. In reality, Nevco was simply a conduit for bribes. This was acknowledged by Alstom Network UK itself when it decided not to make a final payment of €240,000 in its original €2.64m contract.
Graham Hill, Robert Hallett and Alstom Network UK were acquitted in the same trial of alleged corruption in relation to transport contracts in India and Poland.
This sentence marks the end of the SFO’s Alstom case, which has seen three individuals, Alstom Network UK Ltd and Alstom Power Ltd convicted of conspiracy to corrupt.
Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office said:
“This sentencing brings to an end a case which involved cooperation from over 30 countries and concerned conduct across Europe and beyond.
“It shows that we will work tirelessly with law enforcement around the world to root out bribery and corruption.”
The SFO’s wide-ranging investigation arose from the actions of Alstom subsidiaries in power and transport projects in Europe and around the world. In addition to the conviction of Alstom Network UK Ltd for bribery in relation to the Tunisian contract, John Venskus, Göran Wikström and Alstom Power Ltd pleaded guilty to bribing senior Lithuanian figures in order to win contracts to upgrade and refit a power station, the Lithuanian Power Plant (LPP), with tenders invited by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. Alstom Group companies paid over €5 million in bribes to secure the €240 million contract. As with the Tunisian conduct, papers were falsified to circumvent checks put in place to prevent bribery by Alstom staff responsible for preventing corruption.
Alstom Power Ltd was fined more than £6 million, required to pay nearly £11 million in compensation and ordered to pay £700,000 in costs. John Venskus received a three year and six month sentence and was ordered to pay £410,000 of costs and Göran Wikström received two years and seven months’ imprisonment and was ordered to pay £40,000 of costs. A third individual, Nicholas Reynolds, was found guilty by a jury of the same conduct, being sentenced to four years and six months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay £50,000 in costs.
Alstom Network UK and three more individuals – Michael Anderson, Jean-Daniel Lainé and Terrence Watson – were also charged in relation to allegations of bribery over a €229 million contract to provide rolling stock for the Budapest Metro System. All defendants were acquitted by a jury in November 2018.
The SFO’s investigation involved cooperation from more than 30 countries including France, Canada, USA, Hungary, Denmark, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, India, Sweden, Lithuania, Switzerland and Tunisia.
Notes to Editors
- The SFO investigation commenced in 2009 as a result of information provided by the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland concerning the Alstom Group, in particular Alstom Network UK Ltd.
- The charges brought against the companies and individuals across all three linked cases were conspiracy to corrupt, contrary to s1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and s1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
- Alstom Network UK Ltd has 28 days to pay the £16.4million.
- Nicholas Reynolds (17 August 1965) was Global Sales Director for Alstom Power Ltd’s Boiler Retrofits unit, based in Derby. John Venskus (1 June 1943) was employed by Alstom Power Ltd as a Business Development Manager and on retirement by Alstom Power Sweden AB as a Relations Manager in Lithuania. He pleaded guilty on 2 October 2017. Göran Wikström (19 July 1950) was employed by Alstom Power Sweden AB as Regional Sales Director in Växjö, Sweden. He pleaded guilty on 22 June 2018.
- Alstom Power Ltd entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to corrupt in relation to a contract to upgrade the burners at the Lithuanian Power Plant on 10 May 2016.
- Alstom Network UK Ltd, Terence Watson and Jean-Daniel Laine were acquitted of a charge of conspiracy to corrupt on 28 November 2018.
- Michael Anderson was acquitted of the same charge on 29 November 2018.
- Michael Anderson (18 January 1961) was Business Development Manager at Alstom Transport SA with responsibility for Eastern Europe, based in Paris. Jean-Daniel Lainé (7 April 1948) was, from 2006, Senior Vice President for Ethics and Compliance within Alstom International Network and a Director of Alstom Network UK, based in Paris. Terence Watson (13 November 1959) was, from 2006, Senior Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia within Alstom International Network, based near Paris.
- Graham Hill (13 July 1944) was Senior Vice President in Alstom’s Country Network based in Paris and a Director of Alstom International Ltd. Robert Hallett (31 May 1963) was Managing Director of Alstom Transport India. They were acquitted by jury on 10 April 2018.