A former account manager for Swedish telecom Ericsson has been charged in the US for his alleged role in paying around $2.1m (€1.78m) in bribes to Djibouti government officials and conspiring to launder funds.

The company has already paid total penalties topping $520m in connection with the case.

During a long-term assignment for Ericsson in Africa, Afework (Affe) Bereket is said to have bribed two high-ranking officials in Djibouti’s executive branch and a high-level executive at the country’s state-owned telecom to obtain a contract valued approximately €20.3m ($24.0m).

Bereket and others caused an Ericsson subsidiary to enter into a sham contract with a consulting company and approve fake invoices to conceal the bribery payments, the United States’ department of justice alleges.

Ericsson transferred funds to and through US bank accounts as part of the bribery scheme which Bereket carried out from 2010 until January 2014 while the company’s Horn of Africa account manager.

Bereket, a dual citizen of Ethiopia and Sweden, is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and one of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He remains at large, the department said.

“Our global economy should be one free from corrupt practices,” said Darrell Waldon, a senior official with the Inland Revenue Service. “Together with our partners at the Department of Justice, we will continue our efforts to ensure fair competition for companies around the world.”


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