February 19, 2010 / 3:41 PM / 10 years ago

CORRECTED - Alcatel-Lucent signs deal with US on bribery case

(Corrects to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in second paragraph)

PARIS, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Telecoms equipment gear maker Alcatel-Lucent ALUA.PA set aside 93 million euros ($125.5 million) last quarter to settle a U.S. authorities’ bribery investigation that began six years ago.

The Franco-American group said that it had reached agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission under which it would pay fines, be put on a three-year probationary period, and be subject to a French anti-corruption monitor.

In exchange, the Department of Justice would defer prosecution of the company over charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s anti-bribery provisions.

The accord must be approved by U.S. courts in order to take effect, according to a February 11 regulatory filing from Alcatel-Lucent.

“If finalized, the agreements would relate to alleged violations of the FCPA involving several countries, including Costa Rica, Taiwan, and Kenya,” said the company in the filing.

The investigation centered on an Alcatel executive Christian Sapsizian, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to arranging for bribes to be paid to Costa Rican officials to obtain mobile contracts.

Also at issue is whether employees at an Alcatel subsidiary paid bribes to influence bids for railway contracts in Taiwan.

The agreement with Alcatel is among a recent series of foreign bribery cases brought by the U.S. Justice Department under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

French authorities are also investigating several allegations of corruption at Alcatel units in Kenya, Nigeria, French Polynesia, and Costa Rica. Alcatel-Lucent said it was co-operating with the French investigation.

French engineer Technip TECF.PA earlier this month set aside 245 million euros for possible fines resulting from a Nigeria bribery case involving several companies that could lead to one of the highest ever bribery settlements. ID:nLDE61B048]

On Feb. 5, BAE Systems Plc (BAES.L) of Britain, Europe’s largest military contractor, said it would pay $400 million to settle allegations that it made false statements to the U.S. government about dealings in Saudi Arabia and other countries. BAE also reached a settlement with British regulators. ($1=.7410 Euro) (Reporting by Leila Abboud and Jeffrey Cane, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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