Swedish prosecutor charges ex-Bombardier employee over rail deal

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -An ex-employee of a unit of Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier, now owned by French firm Alstom, has been charged in Sweden on suspicion of bribing an Azerbaijani official to secure a rail equipment contract worth around $340 million.

A Stockholm prosecutor said Bombardier's Swedish railway subsidiary had won the contract in 2013 by steering $100 million of the revenue to an Azeri company run by an official linked to the Azerbaijan railway authority responsible for the tender.

"The investigation shows that the Azeri company would receive approximately 100 million U.S. dollars for its part of the project and that Bombardier thus received help from the Azeri railway authority to win the procurement," prosecutor Staffan Edlund said in a statement.

Thomas Bimer denies the charges, his lawyer told Reuters.

A spokesperson for Alstom said the firm was committed to cooperating with authorities: "This matter concerns a former Bombardier Transportation employee, and it does not concern in any way Alstom or any Alstom employees."

A spokesperson for Bombardier said the jet maker took the matter seriously, was continuing an internal review and would take all available information into account.

The charge relates to a case in Sweden in 2017 when a Russian man who worked at Bombardier was acquitted of bribing Azerbaijani officials to win the 2013 contract. Edlund said prosecutors were appealing that acquittal.

Evidence was obtained during a 2016 raid on Bombardier's Stockholm headquarters and from documents provided by the World Bank, which funded the Azerbaijani rail infrastructure project and is conducting its own investigation, Edlund told Reuters.

(Reporting by Colm FultonEditing by Peter Graff and Alexander Smith)

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