Ericsson’s internal report on Iraq bribery ‘insufficient’: US DoJ

Swedish telecoms company Ericsson said on Wednesday that US authorities have found its disclosures about an internal inquiry into its conduct in Iraq, including suspected bribes to the Islamic State group, "insufficient".

Ericsson's internal report on Iraq bribery 'insufficient': US DoJ
File photo of Ericsson's CEO Börje Ekholm. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

The news from the telecom company sent shares tumbling more than 10 percent as the Stockholm stock exchange opened.

The company’s value had already taken a beating in recent weeks over the anticipated publication of a media investigation coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

It revealed an internal Ericsson 2019 investigation that was never made public, identifying possible corruption over many years in the group’s Iraqi operations, including links to Islamic State.

The revelations were published in the media on Sunday, but Ericsson had previously released statements addressing the claims.

Ericsson had already paid one billion dollars to the US Department of Justice to close a case of corruption in five countries, as part of a “deferred prosecution agreement” (DPA).

The Stockholm-based company revealed last month that it had already handed over its internal investigation on Iraq to US authorities.

But the Department of Justice (DoJ) informed Ericsson on Tuesday “The disclosure made by the company prior to the DPA about its internal investigation into conduct in Iraq in the period 2011 until 2019 was insufficient,” the telecom giant said in a statement.

In addition, the DoJ determined the company had “breached the DPA” by failing to make further disclosures related to the investigation after the agreement was reached.

Ericsson said it was “in communication with the DoJ” about the case and looking to resolve the issue.

“At this stage it is premature to predict the outcome of this matter,” the company said.

Since the revelations first came to light, Ericsson shares have lost nearly a third of their value.

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SAS pilot unions delay strike for three days of extra talks

Sweden’s pilot union has agreed to postpone the strike planned for Wednesday by three days in the hope of striking a last minute deal with the SAS airline.

SAS pilot unions delay strike for three days of extra talks

The strike, due to start on June 29th, has been pushed forward until just after midnight on July 1st, to provide time for extra negotiations with the Scandinavian airline’s management over a new collective bargaining agreement. 

After weeks with intensive negotiations over a new agreement between SAS leadership and 1,000 of the airline’s pilots, both sides are now willing to continue discussions, pushing back the deadline by three days. 

“SAS and the Norwegian pilot union are in agreement that we will continue negotiations for three days,” Norwegian national mediator Mats Wilhelm Ruland said. “There’s been intensive work towards finding a solution.”

Karin Nyman, Swedish press officer for SAS, said that the company was glad to have been given more time.

“It means above everything else that our customers will be able to travel over the next few days,” she told Swedish newswire TT.

Martin Lindgren, chairman of the Swedish SAS branch of the Swedish Air Line Pilots Association (SPF), would not comment on the content of the negotiations, but said that it was worth continuing to try and reach an agreement.

“We feel a great responsibility towards both SAS and our members, but above all towards our passengers,” he said in a press statement.

“Although we have gone to great lengths to come to an agreement, many issues remain unsolved. The strike can only be avoided if SAS show a real will to meet us. As of now, we’re choosing to give the other side yet another chance to do that.”

The airline’s Danish press officer, Alexandra Kaoukji, wrote in a statement to Danish newswire Ritzau that mediators believe “there is a possibility of reaching consensus” on a new agreement between the airline and pilots.

“The new 72-hour deadline means that our passengers will be able to travel,” she told the newswire. “We’re very happy about that. Our hope is therefore that we can find a solution and that passengers will not be affected.”

Nyman was also hopeful that both sides would be able to come to an agreement without resorting to strike action.

“We can only state that we’ve had constructive talks in recent days in our negotiations, and obviously the mediators have then made the assessment that there is a chance of reaching an agreement,” she said.

Pilots are unhappy that SAS is hiring new pilots on cheaper contracts in their two subsidiaries, SAS Link and SAS Connect. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, up to 30,000 SAS passengers could be affected per day, the airline said on June 27th.