Swedish court rules Bombardier employee not guilty of bribery

FILE PHOTO - A logo of jet manufacturer Bombardier is pictured on their booth during the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland on May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - An employee at Canadian aircraft and train maker Bombardier BBDb.TO was innocent of bribery, a Swedish court ruled on Wednesday.

“The prosecutors have not proved that the charged person has promised or offered an inappropriate benefit,” a Stockholm district court said in a statement.

The 37-year-old Russian man was arrested in March on suspicion that he together with several others at Bombardier had bribed an Azerbaijani official to secure a contract worth around $340 million.

He was released from custody last week as there were “no grounds for keeping him arrested”, a court document showed.

“This is what we were hoping for all along, as we didn’t think the prosecutor had enough proof to argue this, especially when it comes to our client,” defense lawyer Cristina Bergner told Reuters.

Bergner has previously said the Russian man was too junior within the company to collude with Azerbaijani officials about winning the contract.

Prosecutor Thomas Forsberg was not immediately available for comment. He told Reuters last week that a preliminary investigation into higher-ranking employees at Bombardier was going ahead, but declined further comment until the verdict had been announced.

Reporting by Olof Swahnberg and Helena Soderpalm, Editing by Louise Heavens