Officials linked to corrupt Alstom deal in Lithuania face corruption probe

15 January 2019 7:40pm

10 January 2019. By Annie Robertson and Martin Coyle.

Lithuanian government officials linked to a bribery-tainted Alstom deal are subject to a corruption probe, Lithuanian prosecutors have told MLex.

The investigation by the country's anticorruption agency follows the conviction and jailing of three Alstom executives in the UK last year following their prosecution by the Serious Fraud Office.

“We confirm that the Special Investigative Service [is] conducting the investigation of alleged corruption related to crimes committed by the officials in respect to Alstom activities,” a spokeswoman told MLex by e-mail.

The service, known as the STT, is cooperating with the SFO in the UK, she added.

In 2016, Alstom Power, a UK unit of the French railway infrastructure company, pleaded guilty to disguising corrupt payments to high-ranking Lithuanian officials via a subcontracting company called Kruonio.

UK court documents identified the owner of Kruonio, Pranciskus Jurgutis, as an active member of the Lithuanian Social Democratic party who had close ties to several influential politicians. It is unclear whether the STT is investigating Jurgutis.

Nicholas Reynolds, 53, formerly global sales director for Alstom Power's boiler retrofits unit, conspired to pay 5 million euros ($5.7 million) to win a 240 million-euro power-plant refitting contract from Lietuvos Elektriné, a subsidiary of Lithuanian state-owned energy company Lietuvos Energija, between January 2002 and March 2010. He was jailed in December following a trial at Blackfriars Crown Court in London.

Two other former Alstom Power executives — John Venskus, 75, and Göran Wikström, 68 — pleaded guilty to corruption charges and were jailed in May 2018.

Alstom Power was fined more than 6 million pounds and paid almost 11 million pounds in compensation to the Lithuanian government following its guilty plea.

“The culture of corruption evident within the Alstom Group was widespread,” SFO chief Lisa Osofsky said after Reynolds' verdict last month. “Their illicit activities to win lucrative contracts were calculated and sustained, undermining legitimate business and public trust."

The STT declined to comment on whether it was investigating any Alstom units or any of the company’s executives.

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