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Alstom directors arrested in UK corruption probe

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2010-03-24

Britain's Serious Fraud Office arrested three directors of French engineering group Alstom Wednesday on suspicion of bribery and corruption after raids on nine properties in the UK.

AFP- Three members of the board of French engineering group Alstom in Britain have been arrested on suspicion of bribery and corruption, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said Wednesday.

They were detained in dawn raids at nine locations across Britain involving over 150 police and SFO officials and have been taken to police stations to be interviewed.

"Three members of the board of Alstom in the UK have been arrested on suspicion of bribery and corruption, conspiracy to pay bribes, money laundering and false accounting," the SFO said in a statement.

The raids were part of an SFO investigation code-named Operation Ruthenium into "the suspected payment of bribes by companies within the Alstom group in the UK."

"It is suspected that bribes have been paid in order to win contracts overseas, and that this has involved associated money laundering and other offences," the SFO said.

The Alstom chiefs -- aged 52, 51 and 44 -- were arrested at five Alstom business addresses and four residential premises in central and northeast England and London.

The SFO has been working closely with Swiss police and legal authorities and a number of police forces across Britain, it added.

"The SFO is committed to tackling corruption," said SFO chief Richard Alderman.

"We are working closely with other criminal justice organisations across the world and are taking steps to encourage companies to report any suspicions of corruption, either within their own business or by other companies or individuals".

Date created : 2010-03-24

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