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May 13, 2021

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Ericsson to pay Nokia in bribery case

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson said yesterday it had agreed to pay Finnish competitor Nokia 80 million euros (US$97 million) to settle a dispute linked to bribes and accounting fraud.

The settlement is related to a United States investigation into Ericsson’s business in five countries — China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kuwait and Djibouti — between 2000 and 2016.

In 2019, the US Department of Justice announced that Ericsson would pay more than US$1 billion in penalties and fines to resolve the investigation related to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

According to US authorities, Ericsson “admitted to a years-long campaign of corruption in five countries to solidify its grip on telecoms business.”

Its shortcomings in implementing compliance and internal controls “made it easier for its executives and employees to pay bribes and falsify its books and records.”

At the time Ericsson deplored the “past failings,” saying some staff acted in “bad faith.”

Ericsson said in a statement yesterday that it had reached an agreement to settle a damages claim made by Nokia.

The sum paid to Nokia “reflects uncertainty, risk, expense, and potential distraction from business focus associated with a potentially lengthy and complex litigation,” Ericsson said.

The settlement, which will affect second quarter results, will be paid out in installments until 2023, but “further details of the terms of the settlement are confidential,” it said.


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