Three top bosses from Alstom, the French owned engineering group which sacked 500 Eastleigh railway workers in 2006, were arrested by officers from the Serious Fraud Office this morning on suspicion of bribery and corruption, conspiracy to pay bribes, money laundering and false accounting.
Earlier this morning search warrants were executed at Alstom business premises and residential addresses at locations in Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and London. The operation involved 109 SFO staff and 44 police officers and Accredited Financial Investigators from Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Cheshire, West Mercia and Staffordshire Police Forces and the Metropolitan Police Service. The three men arrested during this operation are aged 52, 51 and 44 and included the UK company president Stephen Burgin.
The investigation by the SFO is into the suspected payment of bribes by companies within the Alstom group in the UK has been code-named Operation Ruthenium,.
Commenting on today’s action, SFO Director Richard Alderman said,
“The SFO is committed to tackling corruption. We are working closely with other criminal justice organisations across the world and are taking steps to encourage companies to report any suspicionof corruption, either within their own business or by other companies or individuals”
The Alstom company website later reported that all three men had been released without charge.
In 2006 Alstom closed the the former British Rail engineering works on Campbell road with the loss with the loss of 471 local jobs blaming an excess of capacity over the expected sales and orders.