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By | Team Register 29th December 2010 11:37

Alcatel-Lucent pays to shut down US bribery probe

Admits dodgy 'consulting'

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 and regret what happened and have implemented policies and procedures to prevent these violations from happening again," said Alcatel-Lucent's general counsel Steve Reynolds.

The SEC alleges that between 2001 and 2006, prior to its acquisition of Lucent, Alcatel, bribed government officials in Costa Rica, Honduras, Malaysia and Taiwan.

The kickbacks were improperly recorded as consulting fees, according to the regulator.

"Alcatel and its subsidiaries failed to detect or investigate numerous red flags suggesting their employees were directing sham consultants to provide gifts and payments to foreign government officials to illegally win business," the SEC said in a statement.

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. ®

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