U.K. SFO Said to Alert Ex-Alstom Employees of Charges

British prosecutors told several former employees of Alstom SA that they’ll be charged as part of its prosecution of the French train-maker, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

The prosecutor contacted the individuals yesterday to offer to start plea discussions, the people said, asking not to be identified because the correspondence isn’t public. Some may appear with the company at a London court on Sept. 9, according to the people.

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office charged Alstom’s U.K. subsidiary with corruption and conspiracy to corrupt yesterday following a five-year investigation. The company was charged in relation to transport projects in India, Poland and Tunisia, the agency said. The SFO contacted at least five individuals about two months ago inviting them for plea discussions, people with knowledge of the matter said in June. The SFO then decided to postpone the talks until it decided whether to prosecute Alstom.

Plea discussions often determine what charges are brought against someone in exchange for pleading guilty.

A spokeswoman for Alstom reiterated the Levallois-Perret, France-based company’s statement from yesterday, saying it’s “in ongoing communications with the SFO about its investigation and will continue to work with the SFO to seek a fair and appropriate resolution.”

A spokesman for the SFO declined to comment on whether individuals would be charged in the case.

The alleged offenses took place between June 2000 and November 2006, according to yesterday’s SFO statement. The prosecutor arrested three members of the company’s board in the U.K. in 2010, before the case was challenged by two of the individuals and later dropped.

The French engineering company is in the process of selling most of its energy-equipment businesses to General Electric Co. for 12.35 billion-euro ($16.6 billion) to focus on train-making operations.

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