SAO PAULO (AFP) - French engineering group Alstom allegedly paid nearly
a million dollars in bribes in connection with a Brazilian energy
plant, testimony from a Brazilian businessman reported in the press
here said Thursday.
newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo said it had obtained a statement given to
police by the businessman, Luiz Geraldo Tourinho Costa, alleging Alstom
in 2002 used an account he had in Uruguay to deposit money from an
Alstom subsidiary in Switzerland.
The money -- one payment of 550,000 dollars, and another of 342,000
dollars -- was paid to Petrobras, Brazil's state-run oil company which
has a 50-percent stake in the TermoRio thermo-electric plant to which
Alstom supplied turbines in a deal worth 550 million dollars at the
time, the businessman was reported to have said.
Alstom's vice-president between 1999 and 2004, Jose Reis, was named
as having asked Tourinho Costa to make his Uruguay account available
for the transfer in return for a five-percent commission on the amount.
The newspaper said Reis's lawyer denied having participated in any
such payments. Petrobras said it had no knowledge of Tourinha Costa's
The testimony from Tourinha Costa was given when he was arrested two
years ago for a suspected fraud he was alleged to have tried to mount
against Brazilian electricity companies.
Tourinha Costa was cleared of that charge after it was determined
police had foiled the supposed plot before it could be carried out,
Folha de Sao Paulo said.
Brazilian federal authorities announced earlier this month they were
investigating Alstom for suspected tax avoidance and money laundering.
That probe adds to others in France and Switzerland into suspected
bribe payments made by the French company to secure tenders in Latin
America and in Asia between 1995 and 2003.
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