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US authorities investigating Ericsson for corruption allegations

Ericsson has confirmed that it has been questioned by US authorities as part of an investigation into alleged corruption related to the Swedish vendor’s business in China.

Originally published in Svenska Dagbladet, the firm’s statement read: “While we strive to at all times conduct our business in compliance with applicable laws, matters do arise from time to time as a result of the global nature of our business.”

Ericsson clarified that a voluntary request was made by US authorities in March 2013 to field certain questions regarding its anti-corruption programme and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company did not provide further details of the request beyond saying that it would cooperate with the authorities.

The vendor added that it had disclosed the request to the media when it was first made, noting that as a listed company, regulation requires it to make public any information that could affect the firm or its finances.

The corruption investigation is being conducted by the SEC as well as the US Department of Justice, and is not limited to Ericsson’s operations in China; back in May 2013, the SEC began looking into the means by which the vendor won contracts – including one in Romania – throughout the 1990s.

That said, the inquiry will also focus on more recent allegations. It is unclear whether this includes the revelation that a former Ericsson executive based in Asia violated company policy by holding an interest in one of the vendor’s suppliers.

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