ABB uncovers suspect payments by US subsidiary

(AFP) Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB said on Tuesday that it had uncovered accounting irregularities at a computer services subsidiary in the United States and had informed US authorities.

ABB said it had handed over to the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) details of 560,000 dollars (430,300 euros) paid to intermediaries in Latin America and the Middle East by employees of ABB Network Management.

ABB said that the payments had come to light during an internal investigation following the dismissal last year of two managers from the subsidiary.

The subsidiary focuses on control software for utility customers.

“We have a zero tolerance policy on compliance and business ethics issues, take action quickly and report fully to underline our commitment to transparency and proper business conduct,” ABB president and chief executive Fred Kindle said.

ABB acquired the subsidiary at Sugarland, Texas, in 1999. It employs about 150 people out of a total ABB worldwide workforce of 102,000.