Areva’s German Offices Raided by Prosecutors in Bribery Probe

German offices of Areva SA, the world’s largest supplier of nuclear equipment and services, were raided by prosecutors in a probe over possible bribery payments.

Eight suspects, including five current and former Areva employees are being investigated over bribery and breach of trust allegations, prosecutors in Nuremberg, Germany, said in an e-mailed statement today. The suspects may have transferred company money to slush funds abroad to “get competitive advantages,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors searched offices of the Areva NP unit in Erlangen, Germany, and an archive in the town of Offenbach yesterday, the company said in an e-mailed statement. Areva is cooperating and the probe isn’t directed at the company, it said. The alleged actions may have been harmful to the company, Areva said.

Areva rivals including Siemens AG and Alstom SA, have both been caught up in European bribery probes. Siemens agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle bribery allegations in the U.S. and Germany in 2008 and three U.K. Alstom executives were arrested last year in a separate probe there.

Investigators yesterday raided 31 homes and offices in Germany and the Czech Republic, prosecutors said. Three suspects are consultants who may have helped the Areva employees in the alleged actions, prosecutors said.

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