A former employee of a Malaysian subsidiary of French equipment giant Alcatel-Lucent was charged Tuesday with paying a bribe to win a contract from a state-owned telecommunications company.
Radziah Ani, who worked for Alcatel Network Sdn. Bhd., pleaded not guilty in a Kuala Lumpur court to bribing a Telekom Malaysia assistant manager to help win a major contract, Malaysia's anti-graft body said in a statement.
Radziah allegedly handed over a cheque worth 25,000 ringgit ($8,300) in February 2006 for information about a tender, it said.
Fariza Hamzah, a prosecutor with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, said Radziah allegedly bought information on the competitors' bids. Alcatel later won the tender worth more than 300 million ringgit.
Fariza said she did not know whether more people may be charged with corruption, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, over the case.
"So far there is only this one," she told AFP, adding that Radziah was released on bail, and the next court date is August 12.
Telekom Malaysia and mobile operator Axiata early this year barred Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent from tenders and contracts for one year after it admitted paying bribes.
Malaysian authorities in December started to investigate claims by US officials that Alcatel-Lucent gave kickbacks to government officials in Latin America and Asia, including Malaysia, between December 2001 and June 2006.
The probe came shortly after Alcatel-Lucent agreed to pay $137 million in fines and penalties to settle the charges as part of an agreement with US authorities.
It had told the US authorities that it made improper payments to obtain contracts with Celcom, a unit of Axiata. Axiata was previously known as TM International, a unit of Telekom Malaysia.
Axiata was demerged from Telekom Malaysia in 2008.