Telecom Vendors

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson deny allegations of bribery

Swedish IT telecoms colossus Ericsson is being forced to deny that they paid out tens of millions of dollars in bribes during 1998-2001.

A number of former executives with Ericsson have sensationally claimed that Ericsson engaged in bribery across a wide range of locations including Malaysia and Poland during that three-year period – and in one alleged instance bribed politicians, senior civil servants and the president of Costa Rica to secure a massive state contract in telecoms.

According to reports in Swedish Newspaper Dagens Nyheter, a former executive named Liss-Olof Nenzell has handed the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents relating to the alleged kickbacks.

The newspaper wrote, "Enormous sums were sent via Zurich from the company headquarters in Sweden to secret recipients around the world," - referring to what it called Nenzell's central role in the scheme.

The publication also alleges that the biggest bribes included 1.4 billion kronor (140 million euros, $150 million), sent to bank accounts in Malaysia, and 763 million kronor sent to Poland, via the British offshore banking haven of Jersey.

Swedish public radio station, SR, further claimed that money was sent to politicians and senior civil servants to Costa Rica, including the then president, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, during a period when Ericsson was vying for a major state contract in telecoms.

SR also revealed it had testimony from "several former top executives," who speaking on condition of anonymity "recounted how they were guilty of active corruption in securing contracts in a large number of countries."

Allegations of systematised bribery against Ericsson are nothing new – and allegations of bribery against the company date back to 2010.

However, Ericsson has always vehemently denied and refuted those allegations of bribery made against them.

A spokesperson for the organisation told Dagens Nyheter, that it “never found any evidence that bribes were allegedly paid”

In June, Ericsson said it was being investigated, including in the US, over what the Swedish press said was a case of alleged corruption in China, and in Greece.

Ericsson issued a profit warning in October, and followed this with the announcement of a net loss of 233 million kronor in the third quarter as operators slowed investment in mobile networks.