Alcatel Finalizes Bribery Settlement

French telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent SA finalized its settlement Wednesday with the U.S. over bribes paid to officials in Costa Rica, Honduras, Malaysia and Taiwan.

The deal concluded in Miami federal court includes a $92 million penalty as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department. Alcatel also has already paid another $45 million to settle a related Securities and Exchange Commission case and $10 million in a corruption case brought by the Costa Rican government.

“It is one of the largest resolutions in the history of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” said Charles Duross, a top Justice Department fraud prosecutor.

Three Alcatel subsidiaries pleaded guilty to violating the anti-bribery law and will pay a combined $1.5 million in fines. The pleas were entered Wednesday by Steven R. Reynolds, general counsel of parent company Alcatel-Lucent.

Prosecutors said the bribes enabled Alcatel to win numerous multimillion-dollar telecommunications contracts in the four countries and were deeply ingrained in the company’s business around the world. The illegal arrangements continued from at least the 1990s until late 2006, often using local consultants and agents as conduits to bribe foreign government officials.

“It was basically, ‘Bribes is us,'” said U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke. “Meaning that everybody is involved.”

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