In a statement Ericsson pointed that the period under discussion was between 15 and 20 years ago and a time when Ericsson frequently used sales agents to a greater extent than it does today.
Sveriges Radio has reported that a payment of 2.5 million Swedish Krone (about $270,000) was made into Panama bank account belonging to the then president of Costa Rica in 1999 at the same time the company was bidding to provide telecommunications equipment. It also indicated that this was not an isolated incident.
Sveriges Radio referenced unnamed managers at Ericsson saying the bribery was systematic and that management was informed. It also references a former Ericsson employee, Liss Olof Nenzell, saying he worked on the confidential payments and had been ordered to destroy documentation.
“Ericsson disagrees with the claims made in the Swedish media that the company would have used bribes in a deliberate and systematic way. We cannot guarantee that individual employees have never, or will, act in violation of our Code of Business Ethics. What we can do is to make sure we always take appropriate action when we have information proving wrong-doing. Ericsson has a zero-tolerance policy for corruption and bribery and take these matters seriously.”
Ericsson has been under pressure from allegations of corruption for some time. In March 2013, Ericsson received a request from US authorities to answer a number of questions relating to Ericsson’s operations. This is an investigation Ericsson continues to cooperate with. And in June 2016 Ericsson commented on its involvement in an investigation related to a defense agreement for the delivery of an airborne radar system to Greece by Ericsson Microwave Systems, signed in 1999.