#EricssonList: Did the Telecom Giant Help Finance ISIS in Iraq?

Published February 28th, 2022 - 12:08 GMT
Telecom Giant Ericsson is involved in suspicious payments to ISIS
Telecom Giant Ericsson is a Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company headquartered in Stockholm. (Shutterstock/ File Photo)
When ISIS took over rule, two employees suggested stopping business in Iraq.

Leaked documents shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) show that Swedish-based Telecom Giant Ericsson was involved in suspicious payments of tens of millions of dollars over nearly a decade to maintain its works and businesses in Iraq during the Islamic State (ISIS) rule.

According to the investigation, Ericsson had sought a secret agreement with the Islamic State and paid millions of dollars to continue bringing equipment into ISIS-controlled areas on a route known as the “Speedway.”

The Telecom Giant is also believed to have been "financing slush funds, trips abroad for defense officials and payoffs through middlemen to corporate executives and possibly terrorists.”

The report also suggested that the company’s work in Baghdad depended mainly on politically connected fixers and unvetted subcontractors; In addition to multiple sham contracts, inflated invoices, falsified financial statements as well as payments to “consultants” with nebulous job descriptions.

The company’s chief executive officer Borje Ekholm said that “unusual expenses dating back to 2018” were reported by the Telecom Giant, but it is too soon to know who the final recipient of the money was. “What we are seeing is that transport routes have been purchased through areas that have been controlled by terrorist organizations, including ISIS,” Ekholm revealed.

According to data shared by Bloomberg, the telecom’s share witnessed its largest decrease since July 2017, with an almost 14.5% decline. The confession was made following an accusation by the U.S. Department of Justice in October of breaching a $1 billion agreement it made with prosecutors in 2019 to end a long-running corruption investigation.

Furthermore, leaked internal documents examining 2019 data show the Telecom Giant Ericsson itself examined employees’ alleged corrupt practices in 15 countries dating back to 2011 adding that none of these countries were covered in Ericsson’s billion-dollar settlement with the US prosecutors.

In 2014 and when ISIS took over power in major Iraqi towns, two employees suggested stopping business in Mosul and elsewhere in the country. However, senior regional executives rejected the recommendation saying it would “destroy our business,” the report quotes the executives as saying.

ICIJ is said to have shared the secret documents about Ericsson’s bribe in Iraq with The Washington Post, SVT in Sweden and 28 other media partners in 22 countries under the name “the Ericsson List.” 

© 2000 - 2023 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

You may also like


Sign up to our newsletter for exclusive updates and enhanced content