A federal indictment was unsealed today in the Southern District of New York charging a former employee of the Swedish multinational telecommunications company Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (“Ericsson” or “the Company”) for his alleged role in a scheme to pay approximately $2.1 million in bribes to high-level government officials in the Republic of Djibouti and conspiring to launder funds to promote the scheme. The defendant remains at large.
According to court documents, Afework “Affe” Bereket, 53, a dual citizen of Ethiopia and Sweden, allegedly engaged in the scheme between 2010 and January 2014. During that time, Bereket served as the account manager for the Horn of Africa, a region that included Djibouti, while on a long-term assignment for Ericsson in Africa. According to the indictment, Bereket participated in a scheme to bribe two high-ranking officials in Djibouti’s executive branch and a high-level executive at Djibouti’s state-owned telecommunications company to obtain a contract with the state-owned telecommunications company valued at approximately €20.3 million. To effectuate the bribery scheme, Bereket and others caused an Ericsson subsidiary to enter into a sham contract with a consulting company and approve fake invoices to conceal the bribe payments. Bereket and others also completed a draft due diligence report that failed to disclose the spousal relationship between the owner of the consulting company and one of the high-ranking government officials who was bribed. To promote the bribery scheme, Bereket caused Ericsson to transfer the funds to and through bank accounts in the United States.
The original full article can be found at justice.gov