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SEC Looks Into Alcatel Bribery Charges

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched an informal inquiry into allegations that Alcatel made illegal payments to Miguel Angel Rodriguez, former President of Costa Rica, in order to secure contracts with ICE, the Costa Rican telephone company.

In an F-3 filing with the SEC, Alcatel noted that the SEC had launched the inquiry, and added that the allegations also involve "various state and local officials in Costa Rica, two political parties in Costa Rica and representatives of ICE, the state owned telephone company."

The payments were allegedly made on behalf of Alcatel in order to procure "one or more contracts for network equipment and services from ICE," the filing noted.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez was president of Costa Rica from 1998 to 2002, and in September of this year was named head of the Organization of American States (OAS). He resigned as head of OAS on October 8, after the allegations surfaced, and is under house arrest in Costa Rica.

The Costa Rican Attorney General and the Costa Rican National Congress are already investigating the matter. Additionally, Alcatel has contacted the U.S. Department of Justice to say that it will cooperate with any investigation it might pursue.

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