According to the research, one in three companies was bribed: these Swiss companies were convicted of corruption

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Employees are said to have bribed officials to make money here: the South African Kusile coal-fired power station.

Every third Swiss company doing business abroad has already paid bribes. This is evident from a new study by Transparency International Switzerland and the Graubünden University of Applied Sciences.

Corruption is prohibited. Since 2003, companies have been punishable if they have not taken all necessary and reasonable organizational precautions to prevent bribery. However, since the ban, virtually no companies have been convicted; in the twenty years there have been a total of eleven, ten of which are known by name. Blick assesses the cases.


Alstom Network Switzerland AG

In November 2011, the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (BA) sentenced Alstom Network Schweiz AG to a fine of 2.5 million francs and damages of more than 36 million francs. Alstom-appointed consultants in Latvia, Tunisia and Malaysia had passed on a significant portion of their success fees to foreign decision-makers, thus influencing them in Alstom’s favor.


Stanford Group Suisse

A particularly eye-popping case: In February 2014, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office sentenced the company Stanford Group (Suisse) AG to a fine of 1 million francs for serious money laundering. The company belonged to the empire of the American fraudster Allen Stanford (73). Stanford, one of the richest Americans at the time, had set up a pyramid scheme and defrauded countless investors of a total of 5.3 billion euros over twenty years. In 2012, the Texan was sentenced to 110 years in prison. Some of the stolen money ended up in Switzerland – at the Stanford Group (Switzerland).

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In May 2016, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office sentenced the company Nitrochem to a fine of 750,000 francs for bribing foreign officials. The subsidiary of the Basel multinational Ameropa paid 1.5 million francs in bribes to bribe a senior Libyan official and confidant of ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi (1942-2011). The aim was to open a factory in Libya for the Norwegian fertilizer supplier Yara.


Odebrecht SA

At the end of December 2016, the BA convicted the construction company Odebrecht SA and one of its subsidiaries in connection with the gigantic Petrobras scandal. The group is said to have used Swiss accounts for bribes in connection with the award of contracts. Odebrecht had to pay a fine of 4.5 million francs and damages of more than 200 million francs.



KBA NotaSys

Banknote printing company KBA NotaSys was imposed a symbolic fine of one franc in 2017 for paying bribes in Brazil, Morocco, Nigeria and Kazakhstan. The fine was so small because the company came forward. After the conviction, the company set up an integrity fund worth 5 million francs and paid the federal government 30 million to compensate for the ill-gotten gains.


International dredging services

In May 2017, the BA sentenced the company Dredging International Services to a fine of R1 million and damages of R36 million for paying bribes to officials of the Nigerian Port Authority. The bribery involved tenders for the dredging of Nigeria’s navigable waters.



In October 2019, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office ordered Geneva-based commodities trader Gunvor to pay around 94 million francs. Serious deficiencies in the internal organization of Gunvor’s Geneva department made it possible to bribe officials in the Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast. This in turn gave the company access to local oil markets. In this regard, the BA filed charges against a former Gunvor employee at the end of September 2023.


SBM Offshore

The criminal judgment against three Swiss subsidiaries of the multinational SBM Offshore also concerned raw materials. The group equips the oil and gas industry. The BA investigation showed that between 2006 and 2012, a total of more than $22 million and almost a million euros in bribes were paid to officials in Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria. The BA spoke of a “genuine system for massive bribery payments”. According to the criminal order from November 2021, the company must pay seven million francs.




At the end of 2022, the BA sentenced the Swiss company ABB to a fine of four million francs. ABB employees had been running a bribery scheme since 2013 to win contracts to build a coal-fired power station in South Africa. Through at least $1.3 million in bribes, ABB received orders worth at least $200 million. ABB was also ordered to pay more than $400 million in the US and South Africa in the corruption scandal. And it is not over yet for ABB: previously unpublished documents allegedly prove that ABB misled investigators.



In April 2023, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office sentenced the Vaud company Sicpa to pay a total of 81 million francs for bribing officials in Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela. In addition, a former sales manager of the company was given a suspended prison sentence of 170 days. Sicpa produces, among other things, ink for banknotes; management has always denied knowing anything about the illegal activities of any of its employees.




I am Liam Livingstone and I work in a news website. My main job is to write articles for the 24 Instant News. My specialty is covering politics and current affairs, which I'm passionate about. I have worked in this field for more than 5 years now and it's been an amazing journey. With each passing day, my knowledge increases as well as my experience of the world we live in today.

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