The settlement leaves Ericsson largely free of criminal convictions that could have led to sanctions and other stiff penalties, although its Egyptian branch pleaded guilty to violating the FCPA. It’s paying about $520.6 million to the DOJ, while the remaining $539.9 million goes to the SEC. For contrast, companies like HP have paid ‘just’ tens of millions to settle smaller bribery charges.
Ericsson chief Borje Ekholm (who took the role in January 2017) told the media that he considered the corruption “completely unacceptable,” pointing out that some of those involved were executives. The company also said it had taken steps to improve both its ethics and its monitoring.
The deal likely won’t make everyone happy. Ericsson’s behavior went on for the better part of two decades, but the company will largely be off the hook — the company said it could handle the settlement with “available funds.” Still, the payout is significant enough that it might give other tech firms pause if their anti-corruption policies are lax.