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World Bank debars French digital security firm

Image courtesy of IdemiaThe World Bank Group said Thursday it debarred Oberthur Technologies SA for two and a half years for bribery and corruption.

The debarment "relates to corrupt and collusive practices" for a national ID project in Bangladesh, the bank said.

Oberthur admitted as part of a Negotiated Resolution Agreement that it made improper payments to a sub-contractor. It also engaged in "collusive misconduct to obtain and modify bid specifications to narrow competition and secure the award of the contract."

The Bangladesh project was called the Identification System for Enhancing Access to Services Project (IDEA).

Oberthur Technologies SA is now part of a company called Idemia. On its website, Idemia says it has about €3 billion ($3.6 billion) in revenues and 14,000 employees worldwide.

The World Bank said Thursday's resolution reflected Oberthur’s "extensive cooperation" with the investigation. The company admitted the misconduct, conducted an internal investigation, and held culpable individuals accountable.

Oberthur also improved its governance and compliance procedures, the World Bank said.

The debarment qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks.

In addition to the World Bank, parties to the 2010 cross-debarment agreement are the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the African Development Bank.

World Bank sanctions and compliance information is here.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.