Gemalto targeted by a judicial investigation for corruption in Africa

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The national financial prosecutor’s office in Paris has opened a judicial investigation against the French group for corruption across several African countries.

A judicial investigation targeting government contracts concluded between the smart card manufacturer Gemalto, acquired in 2019 by Thales, and several African countries were opened in June, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office said on Tuesday, confirming information from Mediapart.

This judicial investigation was opened for bribery of a foreign public official in an organized gang, aggravated laundering of bribery of a foreign public official and association of criminals.

The case arose from a report from Tracfin, Bercy’s financial intelligence unit. It first gave rise to the opening of a preliminary investigation, relating to government contracts concluded by Gemalto, now Thales DIS, with several African States, confirmed the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office. Several searches were carried out in October, the source said.

According to Mediapart, the investigation “concerns about ten government contracts (identity cards, electoral cards, license plates) won by Gemalto between 2015 and the beginning of 2019”, in particular on “commissions affected, to win these contracts, through several intermediaries”.

Thales “cooperates fully”

The investigations would relate in particular to a contract of more than 46 million dollars won in 2016 from the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) of the Democratic Republic of Congo, indicates the site.

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They would also be interested in another contract won in 2017 in Senegal. Gemalto had concluded a contract with the government there for the manufacture of driving licenses and vehicle registration plates.

An Israeli intermediary from Gemalto is said to have negotiated two contracts in Cameroon and another in Senegal.

Contacted by AFP, Thales confirmed that its subsidiary had been “given in October 2022 a judicial requisition to communicate documents and information in connection with contracts won by Gemalto before its acquisition by Thales in 2019″.

The group assured, “to cooperate fully with the judicial authorities in the context of this procedure”. “It strictly complies with national and international regulations” and practices a zero-tolerance policy with regard to “corruption and influence peddling”, he added.

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