back to article Alcatel-Lucent pays to shut down US bribery probe

Alcatel-Lucent has agreed to pay the US government $137m to drop probes of illegal kickbacks it allegedly paid to win contracts in Latin America and Asia. The payout will close a regulatory investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission, and a criminal investigation by the Justice Department. "We take responsibility for …

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  1. Piers

    Was it ever thus...

    "We take responsibility for and regret what happened and have implemented policies and procedures to prevent these violations from happening again..."

    BOSS: Look guys, can you be a little more discrete with that, k?

    STAFF: OK.

  2. Velv
    Happy

    Illegal kickback, or legal kickback?

    Err, isn't this just another form of kickback?

    Paying someone a consultancy fee so they'll award the contract - bribery

    Paying someone a "fee" so they'll drop the case - bribery.

    1. Elmer Phud
      WTF?

      It's worse than that, Jim

      "The firm will pay the settlement out of a special fund it created last year, so it won't affect this year's financial results."

      You can even have an existing slush fund to hand. There must be so much corruption it's been legalised and given its own form of plea bargaining. One law for the rich etc. etc.

  3. James 12
    FAIL

    So let me get this straight...

    They use cash for bribery and kickbacks that result in them getting more business contracts and then when caught they simply PAY off the law !! Anybody else thinks this smack of legalised corruption, not as much as BA systems, Tony Blair and Saudi Arabia but it’s the same corruption being allowed to happen and effectively green lighted.

    Do what you want but if we catch you it will cost you (well only your company and only money and no actual jail time)

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Or you could look at it differently...

      ...it's just shakedown money extracted by the FedGov for standard business practice. Just another racket by the biggest guy on the playground.

      I'm sure Alcatel and Lucent will put it on the bill of the next FedGov contract.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    So the future of international business is....

    "I went on a sales call at the Presidential Palace in (insert name of developing country here) and I mistakenly left behind my briefcase (full of cash). Thankfully, the briefcase was recovered by a diligent member of the xxxxx Ministry, but the contents had unfortunately disappeared. Lucky for me I have a great boss that didn't make a big deal about the lost corporate property and later that Spring, we got the contract!!"

    And they all lived happily ever after....

  5. Heff

    Fines and lawbreaking

    is all part of the modern business model; look how well intels anti-competitive shenanigans versus AMD were, and the miniscule fines it had to pay years after the fact. these days its very much a "this contract is a billion-dollar deal and the maximum fine for shenanigans is 50 mill. If we're caught. acceptable risk, go go go.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A single quote to sum it all up.

    "Alcatel-Lucent has agreed to pay the US government $137m to drop probes of illegal kickbacks it allegedly paid to win contracts in Latin America and Asia."

    gov.us: "Hey! We wants OUR kickbacks too, or else!"

    alcatel & lucent: "*Sigh* Hokay."

    Cost of doing business, eh.

  7. bogwart
    WTF?

    Hypocrisy in action

    The Merkins are such utter hypocrites. They demand what is effectively a bribe to stop sueing Alcatel but it's OK for them to bribe Nigeria to get Cheney off the hook - and innumerable other examples. Plus they got their panties in a bunch about BAe - does anyone really believe companies like Boeing use a level playing-field?

    Roll on the Apocalypse.

  8. TkH11

    Jurasdiction

    The kick backs were paid by the French company Alcatel to companies in Latin America and Asia.

    Where are the limits of jurasdiction here, how is it that the USA government investigate and demand that the new company Alcatel-Lucent pay the US government? !!

    The kick backs weren't paid to American companies!

    The american arm of Alcatel-Lucent was Lucent Technologies, who were even implicated in the original kickbacks anyway! So as far as I can see, there's been no American involvement, no crimes committed on American soil, so how is it that Alcatel-Lucent ends up having to pay the US government for something which was committed by the French arm of the company for crimes committed in non USA countries?

    Does this mean the USA government can approach any company of any country in the world, make allegations of bribery and demand those companies then pay a fine to the US government?

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