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Swedish telecom giant Ericsson has been fined $207 million for violating a deferred prosecution deal with US authorities by concealing evidence of serious misconduct in Iraq, where the company reportedly bribed ISIS to access a specific transport route between 2011 and 2019.
In a statement issued on 2 March, Ericsson said it had entered “a guilty plea regarding previously deferred charges relating to conduct prior to 2017” for not disclosing its inquiry to the US authorities.
On Thursday, court documents confirmed Ericsson “omitted” details about its dealings in Iraq in earlier disclosures to the US department of justice (DOJ). Prosecutors said that it was only after investigative journalists sent questions to the company and the DOJ that the extent of the allegations became clear.
Ericsson paid a record $1 billion fine in 2019 over what US prosecutors said was a “years-long campaign of corruption,” involving the bribery of government officials and the falsification of books and records in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Kuwait.
However, the deal required the company to report any potential wrongdoing and submit to an outside monitor over a three-year period.
In February 2022, a leaked internal report from Ericsson obtained by the International Consortium of International Journalists (ICIJ) showed that the telecommunications firm spent millions of dollars funneling equipment into ISIS-controlled territory in Iraq.
Emails obtained by the ICIJ suggested “illegal bypassing of customs and passing through ISIS-controlled areas in connection to transportation in Iraq.”
According to the report, Ericsson issued bribes to ISIS to continue providing its services in Iraq after the militant group seized around 40 percent of the country’s territory, putting its employees at risk.
The report also contained information regarding the use of 30 trucks, which paid $3,000 to $4,000 per load to carry Ericsson products into ISIS-controlled territory in Iraq.
In a release, Ericsson said its probe “did not conclude that Ericsson made or was responsible for any payments to any terrorist organization.” An investigation from 2022 did not change that assessment, the company added.