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Costa Rican firm challenges Alcatel deal with US

A Costa Rican telecommunications company is challenging an agreement between French company Alcatel-Lucent SA and the U.S. government to settle bribery charges.

The deal announced last year calls for Paris-based Alcatel to pay a combined $137 million to settle the case. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged that Alcatel bribed government officials to win communications business in Costa Rica, Honduras, Malaysia and Taiwan between 2001 and 2006.

The Costa Rican telecommunications firm known by its Spanish acronym ICE wants the deal thrown out as too lenient. ICE attorneys say the deal's problems include lack of prosecution of Alcatel executives and failure to pay restitution to victims like the Costa Rican company.

A Miami federal judge is holding a hearing Wednesday in the case. The judge must give final approval to any settlement.

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