A former manager at the Swedish branch of Bombardier Transportation, a major engineering company, has been indicted on Wednesday on charges of aggravated bribery in what is one of Sweden’s biggest ever corruption scandals, OCCRP reports.
Thomas Bimer, a former business area manager at Bombardier in Sweden, will now face trial for his role in the allegedly corrupt tender that Bombardier won in Azerbaijan in 2013.
Prosecutors argue the $350 million contract to install signaling systems for a section of Azeri railway involved Bombardier paying a $100 million bribe to at least one mid-ranking railway executive.
“[Bimer] was the head of the department in charge of this project. We believe that he was aware that Bombardier colluded with the customer in Azerbaijan,” Prosecutor Staffan Edlund, of the National Anti-Corruption Unit, told OCCRP.
The allegedly bribed Azeri railway executive also represented a local business, Trans-Signal-Rabita (TSR), which won the tender together with the Swedish company. TSR and Bombardier Sweden rigged the tender so that Bombardier Sweden would win it, according to the indictment now being filed in the Stockholm District Court.
Both Mr Bimer and Bombardier deny any wrongdoing, as does the Azeri railway executive, says the prosecutor, although Swedish investigators have not been able to question the latter.
Furthermore, it is likely that there were other employees at the railway authority in Azerbaijan who received a cut of the payments.
The prosecutor notes that Swedish Bombardier’s former CEO was previously also suspected of bribery, along with several others, yet the insufficiency of evidence means there is not enough to prove any guilt in his case.
Bombardier Sweden has since been sold to the French company Alstom, but it still risks being excluded from any future World Bank-financed projects. The financial institution has reportedly not made any final decisions.