San Diego Business Journal

Former Maxwell Technologies Employee Indicted

Friday, October 18, 2013

A former executive of Maxwell Technologies was indicted on charges of bribery and violations of the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act involving payments allegedly made to Chinese officials at state owned companies as part of contracts on sales of Maxwell’s high voltage capacitors.

According to the nine-count indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Alan Riedo, the former general manager of Maxwell’s Swiss subsidiary, conspired with several Chinese officials, paying them “extra amounts,” and “consulting fees” on sales of Maxwell’s capacitors to several state owned companies.

The capacitors are made by Maxwell’s Swiss subsidiary, Maxwell, S.A., and used for switching high voltage utility lines.

The added amounts were contained in the contracts with mark-ups of about 20 percent on the items. Following the payments on the items, Riedo would transfer the added amounts first to other unnamed Maxwell employees and then to officials at the Chinese companies, the indictment says.

According to the indictment, Riedo arranged the added payments to win the contracts from about 2002 to 2009 when he left the company. In all, about $2 million in bribes were paid out, the indictment said.

In 2011, Maxwell agreed to pay about $14 million in fines to both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve civil charges involving the same transactions in China.

Riedo, a citizen of Switzerland, was reportedly at large, and working in that country.

(This story has been updated to reflect the correct name of the Maxwell products.)

— Mike Allen