The Swedish networking and telecommunications company Ericsson has released a statement admitting that an internal investigation carried out in 2019 revealed multiple violations of its compliance rules and code of ethics.
These point to potential corruption in the following ways: making donations without specifying the beneficiary, failing to properly define the scope of a project before paying suppliers, and funding inappropriate travel expenses. There is also some indication of money laundering. The results of this investigation were shared with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Perhaps the most worrying element to surface during the investigation is the suggestion that Ericsson employees were able to avoid Iraqi customs by bribing ISIL members in Iraq in return for being allowed to use certain roads, going back to 2018.
There is some precedent for this behavior. Ericsson employees apparently bribed government officials in China, Vietnam, and Djibouti, among other countries. After this surfaced, the company would eventually pay $1 billion to the DOJ.
This most recent scandal has already had an impact on Ericsson’s share prices. It remains to be seen how the company will restore investor confidence.