What is Alstom Network UK?
Alstom Network UK is the British subsidiary of French train and turbine maker Alstom.
It has transport contracts to develop metro infrastructure in India and develop trams in Poland and Tunisia.
It was charged with six offences of corruption and conspiracy to corrupt in July, 2014.
What are the UK prosecutor's allegations?
Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO's) has been investigating Alstom for five years as part of an international criminal inquiry into alleged corruption.
Alstom Network UK, allegedly paid bribes to win train infrastructure orders for the Delhi Metro and tram and infrastructure deals in Warsaw and Tunis between 2000 and 2006, said Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO's).
The engineering major bribed officials and agents of the DMRC to the tune of over 3 million euros to secure contracts.
As per SFO, certain directors of Alstom "did corruptly give or agree to give payments to an official or officials or other agents" of the DMRC to secure a contract for a train control, signalling and telecommunications system for the Delhi Metro Phase 1.
In its legal filings SFO on Tuesday said that the Alstom unit disguised corrupt payments as consultancy agreements.
The charge mentions two specific examples:
- The sum of Rs. 19,895,000 disguised as payments in respect of a Consultancy Agreement with Indo European Ventures Pte Ltd dated 12th September 2001.
- The sum of €3,131,600 disguised as a payment in respect of a Consultancy Agreement with Global King Technology Ltd dated 3rd May 2002.
The UK-based company's parent Alstom stressed that the are charges related to past misconduct.
"The company has been in communication with the SFO and seeks no more than a fair and appropriate resolution of the allegations made," a spokeswoman said.
What will happen, if Alstom Network UK is found guilty?
If convicted, Alstom Network UK faces fines or a ban from competing for public contracts in the European Union.
Alstom was involved in corrupt practices in the past as well
The British investigation was spawned by information from the Swiss Attorney General, which ordered Alstom to pay 38.5 million Swiss francs (USD 41 million dollars) for corporate negligence in 2011 because it had failed to stop bribery.
Three executives of Alstoms US unit in Connecticut have since pleaded guilty and admitted paying bribes on behalf of the company.
Were Indian agencies aware of such an irregularity?
SFO had in February this year had written a letter to the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) flagging off possible irregularities.
The CBI admitted that it is taking the allegations seriously and is verifying the allegations. Country's premier investigating agency had even responded to its query regarding two Indian individuals, involved in the alleged bribery scandal.
However, the DMRC has maintained its silence on this entire issue.