25 March 2010 | Allie Anderson
Three UK directors of French transport and infrastructure company Alstom were arrested in England yesterday on suspicion of using bribes to win business abroad.
The three men aged 52, 51 and 44 were questioned and later released on police bail until a future date.
It follows an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) - codenamed Operation Ruthenium - into the suspected bribe payments and money laundering by companies within the Alstom group in the UK to win contracts overseas.
The SFO did not provide any details of the individuals involved or the countries in which they were suspected to be attempting to win business.
Officers raided five of Alstom’s UK business premises and four residential addresses in Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire and London yesterday morning as part of the investigation. The Swiss attorney general and federal police have also been assisting with the investigation.
An Alstom spokeswoman said: “Alstom has been investigated by the Swiss justice for more than three years on the motive of alleged bribery issues. Within this frame, Alstom’s offices in Switzerland and France have already been searched in the past years. Alstom is cooperating with the British authorities.”
SFO director Richard Alderman said in a statement: “The SFO is committed to tackling corruption. We are working closely with other criminal justice organisations across the world and are taking steps to encourage companies to report any suspicions of corruption, whether within their own business or by other companies or individuals.”