Aug 27, 2008

Alstom graft probe

The TTC news release announcing the three short list finalists in its search for a company to build low floor streetcars. They are the French firm Alstom Transport, Germany's Siemens and Montreal based Bombardier.

According to Christina Blizzard of the Toronto Sun

The Request for Proposal (RFP) process came down to two companies -- Tram Power and Bombardier. Yet Tram Power was eliminated and Siemens and Alstom -- who were not part of the RFP at the end -- were brought in.

Another news report has this to say about Alstom Transport...

Alstom is the target of a wide-ranging investigation by French and Swiss authorities over suspected bribes worth tens of millions of euros (dollars) to secure tenders in Asia and South America between 1995 and 2003.

The Swiss prosecutor said the latest raids were not linked to other Alstom-related proceedings such as a bribery case against a Swiss national whom press reports have named as Oskar Holenweger, former head of the Zurich bank Tempus Privatbank.

In June French judges charged a former consultant for Alstom over links to suspected bribes paid for lucrative contracts. The company registered as a civil plaintiff in that case, claiming it may have suffered from embezzlement.

The Wall Street Journal reported in May that Swiss authorities found evidence Alstom paid some 20 million euros (31 million dollars) via "shell companies" to marketing people in Singapore, Indonesia, Venezuela and Brazil.

Alstom is suspected of paying 6.8 million dollars to help win a 45-million-dollar contract for the Sao Paolo subway and suspected bribes linked to a Brazilian energy plant.

Brazilian authorities announced in May they were investigating Alstom for suspected tax avoidance and money laundering.

I am only a bus driver (a retired one at that) and not up to the wheeling and dealing of billion dollar contracts. Yet something about this one is starting to get my attention. It would be very interesting to be a fly on the wall.

AFP: Switzerland announces arrest in widening Alstom graft probe.

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