Former Ericsson Employee Charged In Foreign Bribery Scheme : U.S. DoJ

The U.S. Justice Department has charged a former employee of Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson AB with allegedly taking part in a scheme to bribe high-level officials in the Republic of Djibouti.

According to court documents, Afework Bereket, 53, a dual citizen of Ethiopia and Sweden, helped facilitate the payment of about $2.1 million in bribes to officials in Djibouti's executive branch and its state-owned telecom company to win a contract valued at about 20.3 million euros.

Bereket allegedly engaged in the scheme between 2010 and January 2014. During that time, Bereket served as the account manager for the Horn of Africa, a region that included Djibouti, while on a long-term assignment for Ericsson in Africa.

The Justice Department said that, to effectuate the bribery scheme, Bereket and others caused an Ericsson subsidiary to enter into a contract with a consulting company and approve fake invoices to conceal the bribe payments. To promote the bribery scheme, Bereket caused Ericsson to transfer the funds to and through bank accounts in the United States.

In December, 2019, Ericsson entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice in connection with a criminal information filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York charging the Company with conspiracies to violate the anti-bribery, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

An Ericsson subsidiary, Ericsson Egypt Ltd, pleaded guilty on the same day to a one-count criminal information charging it with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. As per the agreement with the department, Ericsson paid a total penalty of over $520 million.

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