July 25, 2014 5:36 pm

UK intends to charge former Alstom employees with corruption

An apprentice, left, cuts a section of metal at Alstom SA's welding training facility in Stafford, U.K., on Monday, May 12, 2014. General Electric Co. (GE) and Siemens AG are both circling Alstom in a bid to add turbines and other equipment for power plants and transmission networks amid rising demand in the oil and gas industries. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg©Bloomberg

Several former employees of Alstom, the French industrial champion that is the subject of a successful €12.35bn bid from General Electric, have been notified by the UK’s main anti-bribery agency that they will face criminal charges.

The Serious Fraud Office has notified at least six individuals that it intends to charge them with corruption offences, people familiar with the situation told the Financial Times.

The notification comes after the SFO’s decision on Thursday to charge a UK subsidiary of Alstom with three counts of corruption and three of conspiracy to corrupt.

The counts against the company relate to alleged wrongdoing on large
transport projects in Tunisia, Poland and India between 2000 and 2006, the SFO said.

Some of the individuals were told by the SFO that they may be charged and bailed on September 9, when the company’s first hearing is scheduled.

The SFO has told others that the complexity of the case means that the agency will stagger the process of bringing charges, with some proceedings not filed until 2015.

The suspects – who include a French national and Britons – include Jean-Daniel Lainé, Alstom’s former senior vice-president of ethics and compliance, Graham Hill, and Nick Reynolds, who all formerly held senior management positions at the company.

Lawyers for the men either declined to comment or were unavailable for comment.

The proposed charges against the individuals, who have been invited to have further discussions with the SFO, do not necessarily relate directly to those against the company and include other jurisdictions, people familiar with the SFO investigation said.

The company – via a separate subsidiary – could potentially face further charges by the SFO, according to two of those people.

Alstom said: “The Serious Fraud Office has indicated that it has initiated
proceedings against a UK subsidiary of Alstom SA. The company is in
ongoing communications with the SFO about its investigation and will continue to work with the SFO to seek a fair and appropriate resolution. Alstom has no further comment.”

However, the company has not indicated whether it will contest the SFO’s charges.

The SFO confirmed it was considering charging individuals but declined to comment further.

Additional reporting by Michael Stothard in Paris

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