US targets Lucent Technologies in Saudi bribery probe
Two US federal agencies have launched an investigation into the business activities of telecom developer Lucent Technologies in Saudi Arabia. The US-based company has been accused of bribing a Saudi official with offerings valued at $15 million in exchange for business opportunities with the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC).
The company’s possible violation of US bribery laws were addressed in a civil lawsuit filed by the National Group for Communications and Computers, a US-based provider of internet services in the Kingdom. The US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice are investigating whether Lucent violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Lucent has denied the allegations.
Filed on August 8, 2003, the lawsuit alleges that Lucent and Swiss firm ACEC disbursed over $15 million in bribes between 1995 and 2003 to the former Saudi Minister of Post Telephone and Telegraph Ali Al-Johani, reported AP. The payments supposedly paid for medical expenses, private jet trips and luxury hotel stays in the United States.
In addition, National Group also claims that Lucent was given permission to end a contract it had signed with the firm, costing it more that $63 million in losses. The complaint seeks damages of up to three times this amount.
Lucent Technologies designs and delivers systems, software, silicon and services for next-generation communications networks for service providers and enterprises. The company has a multi-national workforce of 2,200 in Saudi Arabia, approximately 30 percent of whom are Saudi engineers, technical and administrative management and non-management staff. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)