May 19, 2020

SFO closes investigation of Swiss engineering firm

On May 19, 2020, the UK Serious Fraud Office announced that it had closed its investigation into suspected offenses by the UK subsidiaries of ABB Ltd, a Swiss engineering company, because the case did not meet the relevant test for prosecution as set forth in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.  The SFO initiated its investigation in February 2017 after ABB self-reported potential violations.  According to the SFO, the investigation of ABB was related to the Unaoil bribery case. 

In 2019, ABB reported that it is under investigation by the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.  Earlier, in 2010, the company and two subsidiaries entered into a civil settlement with the SEC, and a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ after pleading guilty to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for conduct unrelated to the current investigations.  The terms of the 2010 SEC settlement and DPA included payment of over $58 million in criminal and civil penalties, disgorgement and interest.

SFO case update | DOJ press release (2010)