US charges ex-Ericsson employee in bribery case - Mobile World Live

US charges ex-Ericsson employee in bribery case

09 SEP 2021

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) laid out charges against a former Ericsson account manager for his alleged role in a bribery scandal comprising conspiracy to commit money laundering and a violation of anti-corruption laws.

In a statement, the DoJ accused ex-Ericsson Horn of Africa account manager Afework Bereket of offences dating from between 2010 and January 2014.

The indictment is for his alleged role in a scheme to pay bribes totalling $2.1 million to two high-ranking officials and an executive at Djibouti’s state-owned operator to win contracts worth around €20.3 million ($24 million).

“To effectuate the bribery scheme, Bereket and others caused an Ericsson subsidiary to enter into a sham contract with a consulting company and approve fake invoices to conceal the bribe payments,” the DoJ claimed.

“Bereket and others also completed a draft due diligence report that failed to disclose the spousal relationship between the owner of the consulting company and one of the high-ranking government officials who was bribed,” it added.

If charged, the maximum penalty for the offences is 25 years in prison.

The case is the latest fall-out from Ericsson’s Djibouti bribery scandal, which has already seen the vendor settle an anti-corruption case with US authorities and Swedish police charge four former employees.

After settling the US case Ericsson also paid related damages to rival Nokia.

Following its settlement with US authorities in 2019, Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm acknowledged the vendor’s past failings and highlighted it had introduced a robust compliance programme. This included allocation of additional resources to compliance and investigations alongside introducing analytics tools to prevent high-risk transactions.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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