The EBRD debars GE Power Sweden for six years over fraud
By Matilda Barca
The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has debarred the Swedish unit of GE Power for six years over fraud offences.
The debarment which stops GE Power Sweden AB from doing business with EBRD until September 2025, is the longest to have been been imposed in the history of the bank.
The decision came after EBRD and the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) launched an investigation into a GE Power project to install flue gas desulphurization units at the Lithuanian Power Plant.
The venture was financed by donors and administrated by the bank.
The investigation revealed that since 2002 representatives from Alstom Power Sweden AB, a predecessor company of GE Power Sweden, were manipulating technical specifications in the contract in their favor by making payments to the Lithuanian government.
EBRD will now submit its debarment to the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Inter American Development Bank, seeking similar sanctions on GE Power Sweden.
The bank said in a statement: "The EBRD's decisive response in this case underscores how seriously the EBRD takes corruption, especially when it involves donor funds."
EBRD's move to take GE Power Sweden to task, comes as a London court ordered Alstom Network UK to pay £16.4 million ($21 million) for bribery in Tunisia.
The penalty relates to a contract to supply trams and brings to a close a decade-long corruption investigation by the SFO that spanned multiple countries, including India and Poland.
Lisa Osofsky, director of the Serious Fraud Office, said: "This sentencing brings to an end a case which involved cooperation from over 30 countries and concerned conduct across Europe and beyond."