Three Alstom directors arrested by UK Serious Fraud Office

Three members of the board in the UK of French engineering group Alstom were arrested today on suspicion of bribery and corruption, conspiracy to pay bribes, money laundering and false accounting, following country-wide raids against the company by UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The three directors, aged 52, 51 and 44 have been taken to police stations to be interviewed by the SFO, a UK government department responsible for investigating and prosecuting serious and complex fraud said.

Earlier this morning, search warrants were executed at five Alstom offices and four residential addresses at locations in Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and London.

The SFO said that the investigation, codenamed 'Operation Ruthenium' is into the suspected payment of bribes by companies within the Alstom group in the UK.

It is suspected that bribes were paid to win overseas contracts, and on charges of associated money laundering and other offences. The SFO has been working closely with the office of the Attorney General and federal police in Switzerland and a number of police forces in the UK.

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 suspicions of corruption, either within their own business or by other companies or individuals."