French major Alstom accused of bribery in Delhi Metro project

British authorities have taken the UK subsidiary of French train and turbine maker Alstom to court over alleged bribery charges in three countries, including for the Delhi Metro project in India.

Alstom Network UK Limited allegedly paid bribes of around USD 8.5 million to win infrastructure orders in Poland, Tunisia and for the Delhi Metro between June 2000 and November 2006.

The allegations also involve bribes to bag tram and infrastructure deals in Warsaw, Poland and Tunis, Tunisia during that six-year period.

"Alstom Network UK Ltd, formerly called Alstom International Ltd, a UK subsidiary of Alstom, has been charged with three offences of corruption contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, as well as three offences of Conspiracy to Corrupt contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977," the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said in a statement.

"The alleged offences are said to have taken place between June 1, 2000 and November 30, 2006 and concern large transport projects in India, Poland and Tunisia," it added.

The first hearing of the case was held at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday and the next hearing at Southwark Crown Court is scheduled for October 6.

The SFO investigation commenced as a result of information provided by the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland concerning the Alstom Group, in particular Alstom Network UK Limited.

The UK's financial watchdog had filed charges in July.

"As the case is ongoing, I'm afraid I cannot provide further information," Simon Varcoe, Press and Communication Officer, SFO, told PTI.

The alleged agreements were struck by Alstom Network UK, certain directors and others with Indo European Ventures and Global King Technology in India, SagaxEngineering Limited and Kavan BV in Poland and Construction et Gestion NEVCO in Tunisia, according to SFO court filings.

Indo European Ventures allegedly received Rs 1,98,95,000 disguised as payments from Alstom while Global King Technology allegedly received 3,131,600 euros disguised as payments for favouring the Alstom group in relation to the DMRC project, according to court documents.

In New Delhi, the Urban Development Ministry said it is likely to seek a detailed explanation and the concerned file pertaining to the alleged bribery that happened between 2000 and 2006 from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

"We are yet to receive the report through official communication. Once we receive it, we will take further action of seeking details from DMRC," said a senior Urban Development Ministry official.

The Alstom group stressed that the charges related to past misconduct.

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