It looks like some of the pressure on Ericsson over recent allegations of bribery may be easing with the news that Sweden has dropped an investigation into suspected Ericsson bribery in China.
According to the Reuters news service, the Swedish Prosecution Authority said this week that it had closed an investigation into suspected bribery payments made in China by Ericsson employees because there was no evidence a crime had been committed.
This is another positive result for the telecoms equipment giant. As we reported at the time, four former executives were acquitted in June in Sweden on charges of bribing high-ranking Djibouti officials in order to win a 3G contract worth nearly US$20 million well over ten years ago
That said, Ericsson had already admitted to engaging in bribery and other misconduct in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait from 2000 to 2016 in a billion-dollar corruption settlement with the US Justice Department. The 2019 deferred prosecution agreement was one of the largest foreign corruption settlements in history.
Swedish prosecutors have reportedly also looked into whether any Ericsson staff could be charged in Sweden with bribery in Kuwait and Iraq but dropped the investigations.
Reuters quoted a statement on the China investigations in which the prosecuting authority said: "While payments amounting to several hundred million Swedish crowns, corresponding to tens of millions of dollars, were made over a period leading up to 2016, it was not clear that these were made in bad faith.”