ABB, a Swiss industrial automation giant, will pay hundreds of millions of dollars to close out a bribery case that allegedly violates the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. ABB also produces cybersecurity services and solutions and is accused of paying bribes to a Sought African government official who was also a high-ranking employee at energy giant Eskom. The Department of Justice alleges that the bribes were distributed to gain preferential treatment in the awarding of contracts. Additionally, some of the bribes were paid to subcontractors engaged by ABB.
The Department of Justice claims that ABB worked with subcontractors associated with the South African government official despite poor qualifications and lack of experience. The engagement resulted in preferential treatment and priority access to Eskom projects. The bribery scheme also required ABB to conduct sham negotiations with Eskom at inflated prices. This is not the first time that the company has been the subject of judicial action, and the Department of Justice stated that the organization had a criminal history a decade old. This includes FCPA violations that occurred in 2004 and 2010, as well as a guilty plea for bid rigging in 2001.