Ericsson: une spirale du mensonge qui coûte cher au géant des télécoms suédois

Stacked in a corruption scandal, the equipment supplier will pay a new fine of nearly 200 million euros. “The world” tells how the group has hampered the work of American justice on its drifts, especially in Iraq.

by Adrien Sénécat

forced by the American justice to recognize an international corruption scandal and to pay $ 1 billion fine (around 950 million euros) in the United States, Ericsson was confronted, on December 6, 2019, one of the most serious crises in its history. “Angry” by these “errors of the past”, the CEO of the Swedish telecom supplier, Börje Ekholm, then commits, in a press release , to change mentalities internally to encourage its employees to “speak” and “face the problems”.

Ericsson’s staff is precisely alerted, from the following days, a big “problem”: an internal investigation, finalized on December 11, 2019, highlighted important drifts in the branch Iraqi of the group. Corruption, conflict of interest, questionable transactions and, above all, strong suspicions of indirect financing of terrorist groups are mentioned, over a period which extends from 2011 to 2019.

Based on the latest documents from the investigations of American justice and elements taken from the “The Ericsson List” survey, conducted in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigation Journalists (ICIJ), the world is able To tell how the company, locked in a spiral of lies, tried to sabotage the work of justice.

First series of scandals

During the 2010s, the Department of American Justice (DOJ) investigates, under the extraterritoriality of American law, on corruption acts involving the group in several countries. This principle, on the border between anti -corruption weapons and economic lever, can be applied as soon as it is possible to link the business of the company in the United States – a wealthy in the United States – case of Ericsson, which is established there.

The investigations relate to the actions of Ericsson in five countries: China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kuwait and Djibouti. The identified corruption patterns consist in bringing leaders to win public procurement, drawing on black funds. In China, for example, Ericsson distributed tens of millions of dollars of gifts in order to win contracts. In Djibouti, he paid more than two million dollars in bribes to local authorities in exchange for a contract on the deployment of the 3G mobile network, amounting to around 20 million dollars.

This file leads to the signing of an agreement between the Doj and Ericsson in December 2019: the company recognizes the facts of corruption and accepted a fine of $ 1 billion in exchange for the freezing of prosecution. The agreement also provides transparency obligations: the telecoms group must fully cooperate with the American authorities, in particular by transmitting “any evidence or allegation as well as any internal or external investigation of which the company is aware”.

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