August 22, 2008 / 8:00 AM / in 11 years

UPDATE 1-Swiss arrest one, raid Alstom in corruption probe

(Adds comment for Alstom, details, background)

ZURICH, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Swiss authorities have arrested one person and raided offices of French group Alstom (ALSO.PA) as part of an investigation into corruption and money laundering, they said on Friday.

Police “carried out a series of house searches at various locations throughout Switzerland, including the offices of the Alstom AG in Baden,” the Swiss government said in a statement.

One person strongly suspected of “abuse of administrative duties, corruption and money laundering”, had been arrested, the authorities said.

An Alstom spokeswoman confirmed the searches had taken place and said the company was working closely with Swiss authorities, but declined to give further details on the case.

The Attorney General’s office has started a criminal investigation into a former leading compliance manager from Alstom and member of the executive management of the Alstom Prom AG in Baden, the Swiss government statement said.

Other persons are also being investigated, but identities were not disclosed.

“Findings up to date suggest that other companies belonging to the Alstom Group made corrupt payments to officials or functionaries via the Alstom Prom AG based in Baden, which in some cases might have led to the awarding of contracts,” the government said.

Premises in Baden and in Zurich as well as in central Switzerland were searched by more than 50 officers from the Federal Criminal Police and officers from France on Thursday.

The authorities said this investigation was not linked to other ongoing cases.

In May, a Wall Street Journal report said Swiss and French officials were investigating whether the company had paid bribes to win contracts in Asia and South America between 1995-2003. (Reporting by Katie Reid, additional reporting by Marcel Michelson in Paris; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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