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Key Telstra 5G Partner Admits To Bribery & Corruption

One of Telstra’s key partners in the building out of their 5G network in Australia is set to fork out over $1.4 Billion after the US Department of Justice accused them of bribery and corruption on a massive scale and over a long period of time.

Sweden’s telecoms giant Ericsson has agreed to pay more than $1.4 Billion following an extensive investigation which saw the Telstra linked Company “admitting to a years-long campaign of corruption in five countries to solidify its grip on telecommunications business”.

Ericsson only got the contract in Australia after Huawei were banned by the Federal Government from supplying Communication equipment for the roll out of a new 5G network.

Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm and Telstra CEO Andy Penn (Image: Corinne Reichert/ZDNet)

The Swedish Company is also working with Optus.

The US Justice Department said that the Swedish Company had entered into a deferred criminal prosecution agreement following the filing of charges in a New York court.

“Through slush funds, bribes, gifts, and graft, Ericsson conducted telecom business with the guiding principle that ‘money talks’,” said US Attorney Georffrey S Berman of the Southern District of New York.

Ericsson has so far made no comment.

The settlement is believed to be one of the highest ever under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

It involves a US$520m criminal penalty to the justice department and a payment of US$540m to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Its statement said that Ericsson had agreed to pay the penalty to “resolve the government’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) arising out of the Company’s scheme to make and improperly record tens of millions of dollars in improper payments around the world”.

US Attorney Georffrey S Berman “(Saturday) guilty plea and surrender of over a billion dollars in combined penalties should communicate clearly to all corporate actors that doing business this way will not be tolerated,” he added.

The department said that Ericsson had operated its corrupt scheme “beginning in 2000 and continuing until 2016”.

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