Malaysian charged over alleged Alcatel-Lucent graft

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A Malaysian court on Tuesday charged a former employee of a subsidiary of French equipment giant Alcatel-Lucent with bribery over a contact from state-owned Telekom Malaysia.

Radziah Ani, who worked for Alcatel Network Sdn. Bhd., pleaded not guilty in a Kuala Lumpur district court to bribing a Telekom Malaysia manager, Malaysia's anti-graft body said in a statement.

Radziah allegedly handed over a cheque worth 25,000 ringgit ($8,300) in February 2006 for information about a tender, it said.

The offense carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. The next court date is August 12, the statement said.

Telekom Malaysia and mobile operator Axiata early this year barred Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent from tenders and contracts for one year after it admitted paying bribes for contracts.

Malaysian authorities in December started to investigate claims by US officials that Alcatel-Lucent gave kickbacks to government officials in Latin America and Asia, including Malaysia, between December 2001 and June 2006.

The investigation came shortly after Alcatel-Lucent agreed to pay $137 million in fines and penalties to settle the charges as part of an agreement with US authorities.

It had told the US authorities that it made improper payments to obtain contracts with Celcom, a unit of Axiata. Axiata was previously known as TM International, a unit of Telekom Malaysia.

The contract was concluded in 2009. Axiata was demerged from Telekom Malaysia in 2008.

© 2011 AFP

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