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Bombardier reviewing bribery allegations, says it hasn’t uncovered wrongdoing

A Bombardier logo is pictured on the company booth during the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) at Cointrin airport in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse - RTX2ECR5

© Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Bombardier Inc. says it is conducting its own internal review into allegations of bribery in connection with a contract to supply rail equipment in Azerbaijan and that it has so far uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing by its employees.

One week after Swedish police detained a Bombardier executive and questioned two others on suspicion of bribery in an ongoing investigation related to the World Bank-financed contract in the former Soviet republic, the Montreal plane and train maker said it is assisting the Swedish authorities and doing its own examination of what happened. "Thus far, we have no information of any unlawful behaviour and we stand behind the work we are doing to help modernize Azerbaijan's rail infrastructure," the company said in a statement on Friday evening.

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Read more: Bombardier officials arrested in Sweden on bribery suspicion involving rail-equipment deal

Read more: Documents suggest possibility of more legal trouble for Bombardier

A court in Stockholm heard last week that the country's National Anti-Corruption Unit believes the Swedish arm of Bombardier's train unit colluded with Azeri government officials to win the $340-million (U.S.) contract in 2013. Prosecutors told the court that Bombardier and its commercial partners won the deal in part by creating a joint venture called Trans-Signal-Rabita and fictionalizing the new company's history to meet the specifications of the bid. Trans-Signal-Rabita won the contract despite offering only the fifth-best price among eight bidders, the court heard.

Bombardier challenged that information in its statement on Friday, saying the consortium won the contract after a fair and open competition in which its bid was the most technically sound and priced lower than those of its rivals.

"As we complete our internal review, we will do everything possible to ensure that our stakeholders have a full, fair and honest accounting of the facts," Bombardier said. "We will always hold ourselves to the highest standards of conduct and we will always welcome the scrutiny that comes with being one of Canada's leading multinational companies."

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About the Author
Quebec business correspondent

Nicolas Van Praet is Quebec correspondent for the Report on Business. He joined The Globe and Mail in 2014 after eight years at the National Post, where he covered the North American auto industry crisis and several other major stories. More

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