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BW Businessworld

India To Seek Alstom Bribery Details From London

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The government will seek details from the Indian High Commission in London on the charges of bribery against Alstom UK in winning infrastructure orders for the Delhi Metro project.
The Indian high commissioner will be asked to obtain facts and relevant details from the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) regarding the reported kickbacks paid to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for securing the infrastructure order, Press Trust of India reported, citing sources.
It said Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu has asked the ministry's secretary Shankar Aggarwal to approach the foreign secretary for communicating the matter to the High Commission.
The Indian government wants to obtain facts from London before taking any further action, the news agency said.
The British subsidiary of French train and turbine maker Alstom paid around $8.5 million in bribes over a six-year period to win transport contracts in India, Poland and Tunisia, the British fraud prosecutor alleged on Tuesday.
"Alstom Network UK Ltd, formerly called Alstom International Ltd, a UK subsidiary of Alstom, has been charged with three offences of corruption contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, as well as three offences of Conspiracy to Corrupt contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977," the Serious Fraud Office said in a statement.
"The alleged offences are said to have taken place between June 1, 2000 and November 30, 2006 and concern large transport projects in India, Poland and Tunisia," it added.
British authorities have taken the UK subsidiary of Alstom to court over the alleged bribery charges.
The first hearing of the case was held at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday and the next hearing at Southwark Crown Court is scheduled for October 6.
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 in July.
The alleged agreements were struck by Alstom Network UK, certain directors and others with Indo European Ventures and Global King Technology in India, SagaxEngineering Limited and Kavan BV in Poland and Construction et Gestion NEVCO in Tunisia, according to court filings.
Indo European Ventures allegedly received Rs 1,98,95,000 disguised as payments from Alstom while Global King Technology allegedly received 3,131,600 euros disguised as payments for favouring the Alstom group in relation to the DMRC project, according to court documents.
The case comes at a tricky time for the French parent, which has agreed a $16.9 billion sale of most of its power business to US conglomerate General Electric in a deal that gives the French government an option to become a shareholder.
If convicted, Alstom Network UK faces fines or a ban from competing for public contracts in the European Union.