Ericsson ‘paid money to Oman minister’

Ericsson 'paid money to Oman minister'
Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/Scanpix
Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson paid 12 million kronor in commission into a Swiss bank account linked to a minister in the Gulf state of Oman, at the same time as the company received a large order from Oman's telecom authority, Sveriges Radio has reported.

The money was paid in the late nineties into an account officially belonging to a business agent. Sveriges Radio says its research shows that the account was actually used by the Omani minister for post and telecommunications. The minister was also head of the country’s telecoms agency.

“A company paying a minister via an agent – that, in this case, is likely to be a bribe,” said Örjan Berner of Transparency International to Sveriges Radio.

The order from Oman was for the extension of the mobile network in Muscat, and was worth 300 million kronor.

An Ericsson spokesman said the company would not answer any questions regarding business agents or bribes. The spokesman referred SR to the company’s ethical code.