Engineering group ABB being investigated by Serious Fraud Office
Swiss engineering company ABB is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
Officials suspect the company’s UK operations of bribery and corruption, which the SFO said relates to their ongoing investigation into energy industry firm Unaoil.
“The SFO confirms that it has commenced an investigation into the activities of ABB Ltd’s United Kingdom subsidiaries, their officers, employees and agents for suspected offences of bribery and corruption,” the SFO said.
ABB, which has a stock market value of 50.9bn Swiss francs (£40.6bn), said it is co-operating with the authorities.
“As a result of an internal investigation, ABB self-reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice in the United States as well as to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the United Kingdom concerning certain of its past dealings with Unaoil and its subsidiaries, including alleged improper payments made by these entities to third parties,” the company said.
“The SFO has commenced an investigation into this matter. ABB is cooperating fully with the authorities. ABB takes a zero-tolerance approach to financial improprieties and maintains the highest standards regarding integrity and ethical business practices.”
A spokesman from Unaoil declined to comment
Meanwhile in a separate case, four fraudsters have been sentenced to a total of 44 years in jail for a £160m financing fraud.
George Alexander and Stephen Dartnell who worked for Total Asset Finance were given 12 years and 15 years respectively, while Simon Mundy who worked at KBC Lease was jailed for seven years. Carl Cumiskey of H2O Networks Limited received a 10 year sentence.
They were convicted on Tuesday of conspiring to defraud banks into funding the installation of ultrafast broadband networks in sewers. The fraud surrounded the financing of H2O Networks, a pioneer in fibre-optic infrastructure that collapsed into administration six years ago.
“The evidence against each of you was compelling. Not one of you has accepted dishonest involvement in these offences. Of course, you have each accepted that with hindsight that fraud was committed, but have sought to exonerate yourselves," said Judge Michael Gledhill.
"One of the least attractive aspects of the case has been the attempts of each of you to blame others, including each other, for what happened.”