Ex-Maxwell Technologies Official Allegedly Bribed Chinese

An ex-Maxwell Technologies Inc. (MXWL) executive was charged by U.S. prosecutors with conspiring to bribe Chinese officials and falsifying company records in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Alain Riedo, the former general manager of a Swiss unit of the company, was charged yesterday in an indictment in San Diego with taking part in a six-year conspiracy to pay government officials in China to win contracts to sell electric storage devices known as capacitors.

Riedo, through a sales agent in China, paid the bribes by adding a “secret mark-up” of about 20 percent to the price customers paid for the capacitors, according to the indictment. The extra amounts were paid to employees of state-owned and state-controlled companies, prosecutors said.

Two years ago, Maxwell Technologies entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. and agreed to pay more than $14 million to resolve Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission probes of the San Diego-based company’s conduct in China.

Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, said Riedo, a Swiss citizen, remains at large.

Riedo didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the indictment.

Michael Sund, a spokesman for Maxwell Technologies, said that the company’s liability insurance will pay for Riedo’s defense. Other than that, the company has had no involvement with Riedo since he left in 2009, Sund said in an interview.

The case is U.S. v. Riedo, 13-cr-03789, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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