Ericsson Accused of Paying Bribes to Win Greek Contracts

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Ericsson has been accused of paying bribes to secure a Greek defence contract back in 1999. The company confirmed that a payment of USD18 million was made but that it went to a commercial agent and it did not know how that person used it.

It said that it uses commercial agents in many countries to help negotiate contracts.

"We have zero tolerance for bribes and corruption. At the time, we used agents, but we don't anymore because it is a system that lacks transparency," it said in an emailed statement, adding that "We really hope that the money wasn't used for bribes, but we don't know for sure."

A former Ericsson employee Liss-Olof Nenzell told Swedish radio that "politicians, generals and high-ranking state officials" had received the money.

At the time, Ericsson had a defense contracts division, which has since been sold, and in 1999 it was awarded a USD760 million contract to supply an airborne surveillance system to the Greek military.

A former Greek defense chief has previously admitted to accepting bribes, and did mention Ericsson in his prosecution defence, without elaborating.

Sweden's National Anti-Corruption is investigating the allegations, although local law means that bribes paid before 2004 cannot be prosecuted as they would be outside the statute of limitations.

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Tags: ericsson  Greece 

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