Swedish mobile telecoms company Ericsson has agreed to pay over $1 billion to resolve a probe into corruption, including bribing of government officials, over many years in countries including China, Vietnam, and Djibouti, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement on Friday.
Ericsson has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement related to its scheme to make and improperly record tens of millions of dollars in payments, the Department said. The total includes a criminal penalty of more than $520 million and another $540 to be paid to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a related matter.
The firm admitted it had conspired with others to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act from at least 2000 to 2016 by engaging in a scheme to pay bribes, to falsify books and records and to fail to implement reasonable internal accounting controls, the statement said.
Ericsson used third parties to pay bribes to government officials and manage “off-the-books slush funds,” the Department of Justice said.
Ericsson had said previously it was cooperating with U.S. authorities in an inquiry into possible corruption, and in September said it would take a $1.2-billion charge to cover related monetary sanctions and other costs.