Alstom UK unit in court over fresh bribery charges

The UK unit of French train and turbine giant Alstom, already under fire over charges of bribing Delhi Metro officials, is faced with fresh allegations of corruption relating to a Lithuanian project.

PTI| Updated: Dec 22, 2014, 22:18 PM IST

London: The UK unit of French train and turbine giant Alstom, already under fire over charges of bribing Delhi Metro officials, is faced with fresh allegations of corruption relating to a Lithuanian project.

Alstom Power Limited employees, Nicholas Reynolds and Johanes Villi Venskus, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Monday facing two counts each of conspiring to bribe an agent and offering a bribe to an agent between February 2002 and March 2010, according to court papers.

The case is now listed for a preliminary hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London on January 5, 2015.

The charges have been brought by the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which has already charged another UK subsidiary of Alstom- Alstom Network UK Limited- over alleged corruption related to transport projects in India, Poland and Tunisia.

The latest charges relate to contracts with Lithuanian companies Vilmetrona UAB and AB Lietuvos Elektrine, a legacy energy company acquired by Lietuvos Energija AB in 2011, and a project Alstom was involved in at the Elektrenai Power Plant in Lithuania.

In October, Alstom Transport India's former managing director Robert Hallett was the first person to face charges in connection with the worldwide SFO bribery investigation.

According to court documents, the SFO accuses Hallett of paying the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation 3.1 million euros and Rs 19.9 million (257,000 euros) "as inducements or rewards for showing favour to the Alstom group in relation to the award or performance of a contract."

However, the individuals at Delhi Metro have not been named in the document.

The 51-year-old former senior manager of Alstom UK is currently on bail with his case also set for a January 2015 hearing.

Alstom Network UK already faces six counts of conspiracy and corruption brought by the SFO.

The agency accuses the industrial conglomerate of paying bribes to officials totalling more than 6 million euros to secure transport contracts in New Delhi, Tunis and Warsaw via sham consultancy agreements.

A case management hearing is expected to take place at Southwark Crown Court on January 28, 2015.

The SFO investigation commenced as a result of information provided by the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland concerning the Alstom Group, in particular Alstom Network UK Limited.

The UK's financial watchdog had filed charges back in July.

If convicted, Alstom Network UK faces fines or a ban from competing for public contracts in the European Union.