Alstom Settles FCPA Charges for Record $772 Million Criminal Penalty

January 5, 2015 — The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a powerful weapon to stop corporations from attempting to win or retain business abroad by making bribe payments to or bestowing lavish gifts on foreign government officials or their family members. Aimed at the problem of foreign bribery, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 allows for substantial financial rewards to insider informants who blow the whistle on FCPA violations.

French Multinational Power Giant Pleads Guilty to Foreign Bribery Charges in Connection with Contracts in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Bahamas

Alstom S.A. (Alstom), a French multinational company specializing in transportation and power, has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalties ever imposed for FCPA violations. Alstom will pay $772,290,000 to settle charges that it paid millions of dollars in foreign bribes around the globe. The company pleaded guilty to creating phony books and records and failing to establish sufficient internal mechanisms to prevent FCPA violations in the first place.
Two of Alstom’s U.S. subsidiaries, Alstom Grid Inc. (Alstom Grid) and Alstom Power Inc. (Alstom Power), also reached deferred prosecution agreements after admitting FCPA violations. And Alstom Network Schweiz AG, previously Alstom Prom (Alstom Prom), the company’s Swiss subsidiary, has similarly entered a guilty plea for conspiring to violate the U.S. anti-bribery law.
Alstom, Alstom Grid, Alstom Power and Alstom Prom paid bribes to governmental officials in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Bahamas. In Indonesia, bribes were paid to a member of the Indonesian Parliament and to influential members of the state-owned electricity company in Indonesia, Perusahaan Listrik Negara. In return, Alstom was awarded several Indonesian contracts for services valued at $375 million. Alstom’s FCPA violations went on for many years in several countries and the company failed over the entire time to put into place an effective ethics-training and compliance program. To hide the FCPA violations, Alstom and its subsidiary companies reportedly hired consultants with code names to make the actual bribery payments. The purported consultants had names like “Quiet Man” or “Mr. Paris.”
In all, Alstom paid bribes worth more than $75 million to nail down more than $4 billion in contracts that yielded $300 million in profits.

Whistleblowers Notify Government About FCPA Violations

While Waters & Kraus is not handling this particular FCPA case, we are representing whistleblowers in other matters involving foreign bribery violations. If you have comparable claims against your employer or another business, email us or call our qui tam attorneys at 855.784.0268 to learn more about our practice and how we can collaborate with the government to redress illegal foreign bribery schemes. Our experienced lawyers, such as Loren Jacobson and Caitlyn Silhan in the firm’s Texas office, are working to level the playing field in international business operations.

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