San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arias Calls for Cuts In Weapons Spending

Christian Sapsizian, a French citizen and former executive of French telecom giant Alcatel, was sentenced this week in the United States to 30 months in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

The U.S. Southern District Court of Florida in Miami also ordered Sapsizian to forfeit $261,000, serve three years of supervised release and pay a $200 special assessment, according to a DOP press release.

Until 2006, Alcatel’s American Depository Receipts (ADRs) were traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), the state-owned telecom authority, awarded Alcatel an almost $150 million mobile phone contract in August 2001.

Sapsizian, then an assistant to Alcatel’s Latin America vice president, appears to have had a behind-the-back hand in sealing the deal.

Sapsizian confessed to engaging in a $2.5 million bribery scheme started in 2000 to win ICE’s phone contract. He admitted to conspiring from February 2000 to September 2004 with Edgar Valverde Acosta, a Costa Rican who was Alcatel’s senior Costa Rica representative, and others to bribe officials here.


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