December 17, 2016
In an article in Svenska Dagbladet on December 17 it is alleged that Ericsson has used ‘middlemen’ to pay extensive bribes to executives in one of Ericsson’s customers in Africa. Following the article Ericsson wants to make the following comment, which is the same comment we gave to Svenska Dagbladet:
Without having received information about which specific ‘middlemen’ it is referred to, we can say that Ericsson, like many other global companies, has used sales agents around the world, which has been a well-established way of doing business in the telecom industry. However, in recent years, Ericsson has phased out the use and today we use sales agents to a significantly lesser extent, for example in markets where it is a legal requirement.
We take any allegations about corruption in relation to our business seriously, and we do not agree with the allegations of widespread briberies. When we get indications that misconduct or violations of our Code of Business Ethics may have occurred, we investigate them and take action where necessary. We cannot comment in detail which potential investigations Ericsson conducts around the world, but we report our overall work in our annual Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility report.
When we get questions from authorities in various countries, including the US, we always cooperate with them. However, we cannot go into detail about such questions as it could affect or interfere with the work of the authorities. For this reason, we cannot provide any details about the questions we have received from US authorities, and we can neither confirm nor deny specific countries or regions. We have previously communicated that the questions are related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Ericsson has zero tolerance for bribery and corruption, and we are conducting extensive work to ensure compliance with Ericsson's guidelines. At the same time, we have a global operation with about 115,000 employees, which makes it difficult for us to guarantee that individual employees never violate our guidelines and principles. We work continuously to strengthen our processes and to ensure we have a strong culture around these issues, and have done so for many years.