Costa Rica’s Telecommunications And Electricity Provider Files Complaint In Florida

5/15/2010

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, May 7, 2010 –El Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Costa Rica’s telecommunications and electricity provider, filed a complaint in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, Miami, Florida, against Alcatel Lucent S.A. and other related parties. The complaint asserts claims for violations of civil racketeering and other laws of Florida in connection with Alcatel Lucent’s bribery and corruption of Costa Rican officials to secure telecommunications contracts with ICE. If successful, the lawsuit will allow ICE to recover three times the amount of its damages.

The complaint alleges that Alcatel Lucent’s bribery and corruption in Costa Rica was partially directed from Miami, Florida, and was part of a broader world-wide scheme. Earlier this year, Alcatel Lucent announced that it had reached agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission whereby it would admit to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (generally prohibits bribing foreign officials) and pay criminal fines and disgorge profits in an amount over US$137 million in order to avoid criminal prosecution and an SEC enforcement action in connection with its actions in Costa Rica and in other countries. Alcatel Lucent also announced that, as part of that agreement, certain of its subsidiaries would plead guilty to violations of that Act.

ICE’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the lawsuit.

“Alcatel Lucent’s unlawful conduct significantly impacted ICE and affected Costa Rica’s telecommunications system, and has caused a tremendous amount of damage to both the company and the system,” said ICE’s executive director, Don Pedro Pablo Quieros. “Alcatel Lucent acted criminally, tried to take advantage of ICE and Costa Rica, and although it has taken a step in the right direction by admitting its criminal behavior, it must pay for the significant damages it has caused to ICE.”

The lawsuit in Florida is significant because U.S. laws offer victims of racketeering enterprises, like Alcatel Lucent’s, three times the amount of damages they have suffered.
In the U.S. lawsuit, ICE is represented by the law firms Wiand Guerra King P.L. and Saavedra, Pelosi, Goodwin & Herman, A.P.A.

For more information, please contact Burt Wiand at bwiand@wiandlaw.com or 813-347-5100.