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瑞典电信巨头因商业腐败被罚 $1.23 Billion 后的深刻反思与整改

瑞典电信巨头因商业腐败被罚 $1.23 Billion 后的深刻反思与整改

The chief executive of Ericsson AB said Thursday that he regretted the company had not responded earlier to an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission that resulted in the Swedish telecommunications-equipment maker reserving 12 billion Swedish kronor ($1.23 billion) in its third-quarter financials to cover fines and costs associated with foreign bribery violations.

“While the financial penalties we face are substantial, to move towards a closure with the U.S. authorities on these matters is critical for our company,” Chief Executive Börje Ekholm said during a call with investors. “We will continue to foster a culture where integrity, responsibility and accountability are what ultimately counts.”

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act probes began in 2013, with an inquiry by the SEC. The Justice Department launched its own probe in 2015. It wasn’t until late 2016 that the company began working to improve its ethics and compliance program, according to Mr. Ekholm.

The investigations revealed violations of the U.S. foreign bribery law and the company’s code of business ethics in China, Djibouti, Indonesia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, Ericsson said.

The breaches were the result of Ericsson’s failure to follow up on red flags and inadequate internal controls, which allowed a number of employees to act for “illegitimate purposes,” Mr. Ekholm said Thursday, according to a transcript by S&P Capital IQ.

The $1.23 billion provision covers as much as $1 billion in estimated combined penalties from forthcoming settlements with the Justice Department and SEC, said Ericsson Chief Financial Officer Carl Mellander.

Ericsson Chief Legal Officer Xavier Dedullen said the company had so far disciplined 65 employees in relation to the FCPA violations, 49 of whom were no longer with the company.

The executives also left open the possibility that Ericsson’s settlements could include the imposition of an independent monitor to oversee the company’s compliance reforms.

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Harvey Yan

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