Costa Rican firm opposes Alcatel bribery deal

A Costa Rican company wants a federal judge in Miami to throw out a settlement of foreign bribery charges between the U.S. government and French telecommunications firm Alcatel-Lucent SA.

A hearing is set for Wednesday on the deal that calls for Alcatel to pay a combined $137 million to avoid prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged that Alcatel paid bribes 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 claims the deal is too lenient. ICE attorneys say the Costa Rican company lost business because of the bribes and should be paid restitution.

The judge must give final approval to any settlement.