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Alcatel-Lucent sin-binned in Malaysia

Banned for one year on bribe karma

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Australia's NBN Co has refused to comment on the woes of its key network provider Alcatel Lucent in Malaysia. The vendor has been banned from bidding on any new telecommunications contracts for a year by Telekom Malaysia and mobile operator Axiata.

The exclusion stems from fallout over the Alcatel-Lucent's admission that it took part in bribery totaling over US$8m for contracts secured between December 2001 and June 2006 in Latin America and Asia. Last year the vendor had confessed to US authorities that it made improper payments to win contracts with Axiata division Celcom.

The suspension from Axiata began on 18 February, while Telekom Malaysia's is retro-effective from 5 January.

Alcatel-Lucent said in a statement that it welcomed the recommendation from the antitrust commission and was committed to regaining customers' trust.

In December Alcatel-Lucent and three of its subsidiaries paid US$137m to settle the charges with the US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Closer to home, NBN Co, which has selected Alcatel-Lucent as the lead vendor for the network rollout, downplayed the allegations when they surfaced last year and would not comment on recent developments. The Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy also declined to comment on the matter.

NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley and CFO Jean-Pascal Beaufret were both senior executives at Alcatel-Lucent at the time of the corruption activity. Alcatel-Lucent is also bidding to supply Layer 2 technology for New Zealand's UFB network. ®

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