Skanska faces Argentine bribery allegations

The management of the Swedish construction group Skanska has become embroiled in an alleged corruption scandal involving some of its former workers in Argentina, Swedish radio SR said on Tuesday.

Skanska fired seven workers for its Argentinian subsidiary after allegations that they avoided taxes and paid bribes to secure a contract for the construction of a gas pipeline in the north of the country.

The company’s former finance director in Latin America, Jose Alonso, has now charged that the Stockholm management is involved.

He claims the company paid for the workers to keep quiet by paying more than 30 million kronor ($4.04 million) in compensation and allowing them to keep their computers and mobile phones, SR reported.

The management of Skanska has denied the allegations, saying that they are unfounded, and that the compensation was paid to avoid future litigation.

The Swedish radio also said that it had seen emails exchanged between Alonso and the Skanska management after the workers were fired, adding that in the days after the emails were sent in 2006 the finance director was fired in his turn.

The corruption affair has made waves in Argentina, where top officials close to President Nestor Kirchner are suspected of involvement in the scandal.

Some 13 people have been placed under investigation in the affair which started about a year ago.

Skanska said in a statement that it was cooperating fully with the Argentinian authorities and that it had sent a dossier of more than 3,000 pages.

In Sweden a preliminary probe has been opened, SR said.


Swedish firm wins huge New York airport bid

A consortium led by Swedish construction company Skanska has been picked for a $3.6 billion (30.5 billion kronor) project to modernize New York's LaGuardia Airport, regional transport officials have announced.

Swedish firm wins huge New York airport bid
Travellers at New York's LaGuardia Airport in January 2015. Photo: TT

The contract is the largest in Skanska's history and follows the group also winning the contract to build the Metlife Stadium, where the American football teams New York Jets and New York Giants play.

The Skanska team, called LaGuardia Gateway Partners, was tapped by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to demolish the existing central LaGuardia terminal and build and maintain a replacement.

They beat out a competing bid by a team that included major rivals Aeroports de Paris, Goldman Sachs and the architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox.

Other members of the consortium are Walsh Construction, Vantage Airport Group, which manages nine airports around the world, Meridiam, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and HOK, the global architecture group.

Located in the borough of Queens, LaGuardia is one of three major airports serving the New York City region. Port Authority officials described the upgrade as necessary for New York to compete effectively with Tokyo and other global centers.

They said partners in the Skanska consortium have worked on more than 350 aviation and transport projects, including the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and at international airports in Boston and Los Angeles.

Transport officials said the upgraded airport would replace a facility that currently suffers from overcrowding. Construction is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2016.

Several airlines fly between Sweden and New York, with budget carrier Norwegian launching a no-frills service in 2013.