French engineering company Alstom is said to be close to settling a record $700m payment to the US Justice Department to settle a foreign bribery case relating to its overseas operations in countries such as Indonesia.
The fine would be the largest criminal penalty paid to the Justice Department under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The previous largest fine was $450m paid by Siemens AG in 2008.
According to Bloomberg, a settlement could be announced as early as next week but a decision is not yet definite.
In June General Electric (GE) agreed to purchase Alstom’s energy assets for 12.4bn euros. The planned deal is expected to finalise in mid-2015 and GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt said on Tuesday that he didn’t anticipate any additional costs related to the FCPA fine, and that future costs of a settlement had been anticipated when the Alstom deal was struck.
US prosecutors began investigating Alstom in 2009 after Swiss authorities had begun their own bribery investigation of the firm, another source said. In 2011, Swiss authorities ordered Alstom to pay 38.5m Swiss francs ($42m) for failing to prevent bribery.