Alcatel-Lucent Barred in Malaysian Bid Due to Bribery Allegations

Malaysia’s Axiata Group and Telekom Malaysia have temporarily barred Alcatel-Lucent from participating in vendor bids after a call from Malaysia’s anti-corruption commission.
The ban will last a year and covers tenders, contracts and joint ventures. The suspension from Axiata began February 18 while Telekom Malaysia’s was effective January 5.
Alcatel-Lucent said in a statement that it welcomed the recommendation from the antitrust commission and was committed to regaining customers’ trust.
The suspension comes on the heels of allegations that Alcatel-Lucent subsidiaries had bribed government officials and staff from operators in various countries in order to win or retain lucrative equipment contracts.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice had charged the French company earlier this year for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Alcatel-Lucent had allegedly made improper payments totaling more than $8 million to secure contracts in Malaysia, Taiwan, Costa Rica and Honduras.
Alcatel-Lucent and three of its subsidiaries paid $137 million to settle the charges in the US.
Axiata and Telekom Malaysia had also formed separate committees earlier this year to investigate the bribery allegations. Results from the investigations have yet to be disclosed. Telekom Malaysia had been part of the Axiata Group at the time of the alleged bribes from 2004 to 2006.
Analysts The Star spoke to had mixed reactions regarding the suspensions.
Some analysts felt the twin bans reflected a strong stance that corruption was not tolerated in Malaysia, while others felt Alcatel-Lucent should not be the only party penalized.
Both Axiata and Telekom Malaysia said the suspension might be reviewed pending assurances that clear policies had been enforced to prevent the recurrence of improper conduct.



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