STOCKHOLM, May 12 — Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson said today it had agreed to pay Finnish competitor Nokia €80 million (RM400 million) to settle a dispute linked to bribes and accounting fraud.

The settlement is related to a US investigation into Ericsson’s business in five countries — China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kuwait and Djibouti — between 2000 and 2016.

In 2019, the US Department of Justice announced that Ericsson would pay more than US$1 billion (RM4.1 billion) in penalties and fines to resolve the investigation related to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

According to US authorities, Ericsson “admitted to a years-long campaign of corruption in five countries to solidify its grip on telecommunications business.”

Its shortcomings in implementing compliance and internal controls “made it easier for its executives and employees to pay bribes and falsify its books and records.”

At the time Ericsson deplored the “past failings” and pointed to some employees acting in “bad faith”.

Ericsson said in a statement today that it had reached an agreement to settle a damages claim made by Nokia.

The sum paid to Nokia “reflects uncertainty, risk, expense, and potential distraction from business focus associated with a potentially lengthy and complex litigation”, Ericsson said.

The settlement, which will affect second quarter results, will be paid out in instalments until 2023, but “further details of the terms of the settlement are confidential”, the company said.

Ericsson added that it “has a zero-tolerance policy for corruption and has in recent years worked hard to strengthen its Ethics and Compliance program and to build a culture of compliance.” — AFP