ABB hit by fresh bribery allegations

Swedish-Swiss engineering giant ABB has once again been dragged into allegations of corruption. This time, "shady payments" in the Middle East are at the heart of the affair.

According to ABB, it was the company itself which sounded the alarm about the suspected bribery and reported the matter to the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

At ABB’s head office in Zurich, staff are being cagey about the details of the allegations. Thomas Schmidt in the press department told TT that the suspected deals had been discovered “recently”. But he did not want to reveal how much money was involved, or how many people:

“But it involves a small number of people,” he said.

The subsidiary in question has made several deals in a number of countries. ABB is prepared for the company to be forced to pay fines and compensation, not least to the US authorities.

This not the first time that ABB has been mixed up in corruption allegations. In November a Swedish prosecutor accused the company of running a “secret” bonus programme worth several hundred million kronor throughout the 1990s.

“At ABB we have a zero tolerance policy and respond to any breaches of compliance,” said managing director Fred Kindle in a statement.

“The reported incidents are regrettable and are a further reason why we need to increase our efforts to improve performance in this respect.”