Ericsson probed over suspected bribes

Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson is suspected of having bribed ministers in Romania in connection with being awarded a contract for the country's emergency number and is now under investigation in the United States.

Ericsson probed over suspected bribes

Swedish business daily Dagens Industri (DI) reported on Tuesday that Ericsson had agreed to provide the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with documents related to how the company compensated agents based abroad.

According to DI, the compensation used a bank account in Switzerland to make “secret” payments to the company’s agents all over the world.

The move comes following a request by the SEC about the payment scheme following media reports about payments made in Romania.

Ericsson is suspected of having paid bribes to ministers in Romania ten years ago when it was awarded a major contract for the country’s national emergency number.

The compensation scheme is no longer in use by Ericsson, DI reported.

On Monday, it emerged that a former Ericsson boss accused the company of having a secret account in Switzerland to pay different agents, with hundreds of millions of kronor being funneled through the accounts to unknown recipients around the world.

The high-ranking manager making the claims, which were revealed by court documents, and another previous boss have in turn been accused by Ericsson of swindling the company.

According to DI, Ericsson can now prove that the money went to an account controlled by one of the directors.

A third Ericsson boss reportedly paid back his share of the money and left his post.

TT/The Local/dl

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Ericsson suspends all Russia operations indefinitely

Swedish network equipment maker Ericsson said Monday that it was suspending all of its Russian operations over the war in Ukraine for the foreseeable future.

Ericsson suspends all Russia operations indefinitely

The telecom giant already announced in late February that it would stop all deliveries to Russia following Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

“In the light of recent events and of European Union sanctions, the company will now suspend its affected business with customers in Russia indefinitely,” Ericsson said in a statement.

The company added that it was “engaging with customers and partners regarding the indefinite suspension of the affected business.”

“The priority is to focus on the safety and well-being of Ericsson employees in Russia and they will be placed on paid leave,” it said.

READ ALSO: How has Sweden responded to Putin’s war in Ukraine so far?

Hundreds of Western firms ranging from Ikea to Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs and McDonald’s have stopped operations in the country since the invasion, with French banking group Societe Generale announcing Monday it was selling its stake in Russia’s Rosbank.

Ericsson has around 600 employees in Russia, and is a “major supplier to the largest operator MTS and the fourth largest operator Tele2,” a company spokeswoman told AFP, adding that together with Ukraine, Russia accounts for less than two percent of revenue.

As a result, the equipment maker said it would record a provision for 900 million Swedish kronor ($95 million, 87 million euros) for the first quarter of 2022 for “impairment of assets and other exceptional costs,” though no staff redundancy costs were included.
Ericsson is due to publish its first quarter earnings on April 14.