Motorola faces bribery probe

US regulators are investigating an Austrian lobbyist and US telecom maker Motorola over alleged bribes of up to 2.2 million euros (NZ$3.68m), Austrian weekly Profil revealed at the weekend.

From April 2004 onwards, Motorola apparently transferred up to 2.2 million euros to three firms controlled by lobbyist Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, Profil said in a summary of a report to be published on Monday, local time.

Mensdorff-Pouilly then used this money to make "illegal payments" to key political figures in Europe and the Middle East, it said.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission had evidence that "people in office" were bribed with presents and holidays, and has now launched a probe against Mensdorff-Pouilly and Motorola, Profil added.

The news magazine already reported last week on an alleged contract between the lobbyist and the US telecom company over a digital radio project by the Austrian government.

Mensdorff-Pouilly allegedly helped secure the project for a consortium including Motorola and Telekom Austria, gaining up to 2.6 million euros in the process, according to Profil.

Telekom Austria is itself facing a wave of corruption claims that emerged in recent weeks, and on Friday announced an external probe by international experts into the allegations.

Mensdorff-Pouilly himself is no stranger to corruption claims.

In January 2010, he was charged in Britain with bribing European officials to secure fighter jet contracts for defence giant BAE Systems. The charges were eventually dropped.

- AFP

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