Ericsson faces US corruption probe - Swedish newspaper

Swedish mobile telecom gear maker Ericsson is being investigated by US authorities over possible corruption related to its business in China, Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet reported late on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

SvD said on its website the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are investigating Ericsson, whose shares are listed in Stockholm as well as on Nasdaq.

In an emailed statement, an Ericsson spokesperson declined to comment on the report other than saying the company was cooperating with US authorities to answer questions over its operations it had received in March 2013.

"As a listed company, we always follow the requirements to publicly disclose any information about events that would have a material impact on the company or its finances," the spokesperson said.

Ericsson confirmed to media in 2013 it had received a request for information from US authorities, the spokesperson said. According to media reports at the time, US authorities were then investigating Ericsson's business practices in Romania.

DOJ declined to comment on the Svenska Dagbladet report, and SEC spokespeople did not immediately return a request for comment outside regular business hours.

Findings of corruption by US authorities may result in hefty fines for companies under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In February, mobile operator Vimpelcom agreed to pay $795 million to settle US and Dutch investigations into a bribery scheme in Uzbekistan. Roughly half of that amount was to US authorities.

The newspaper said a former Ericsson executive in Asia had had a business interest in a supplier to Ericsson, in breach of company policy, but that it was unclear whether this was part of the investigations.

Also, the SEC had shown interest in some business deals made by Ericsson's business unit Microwave Systems, which was divested in 2006, the paper said.