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Former Alstom executive warns Huawei of U.S. using 'law as economic weapon'


Apr 30, 2014
Taiwan, Province Of China
Former Alstom executive warns Huawei of U.S. using 'law as economic weapon'

Updated 13:54, 31-May-2019

Frederic Pierucci, a former executive of French company Alstom, has warned Chinese companies of the U.S. bending the rules to help its own firms. During an interview with CGTN's Tian Wei on World Insight, the Frenchman said Washington "uses laws as an economic weapon," arguing that this has become clearer during the Trump administration.

His personal experience with the U.S.' long-arm jurisdiction and the subsequent battle with the Department of Justice (DOJ) have culminated in a book "The American Trap," released earlier this year.

Pierucci was arrested by the FBI at a New York Airport in 2013 on charge of bribery as part of an investigation into a decade-old corruption case in Indonesia. He was accused of violating America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (1977), which allows the U.S. enforces to pursue anti-corruption investigations into non-U.S. companies worldwide, even if the company only had subsidiary connections in the United States.

His arrest ran parallel to the largest business acquisition by the American General Electric (GE) of its French rival Alstom's energy business. In his book, Pierucci argued that the sale was a result of the legal pressure on the probe into Alstom's executives, and charged that behind the DOJ pursuit of his case was General Electric's pursuit of Alstom.

His woes are believed to be a precedent to the ongoing troubles Chinese tech giant Huawei is facing in the United States.

Similarities between Huawei and Alstom

"There's a similarity to the case. In order to put pressure on the company, they (DOJ) indict someone close to the company, which is what happened to me… In Huawei side, there's the official," Pierucci told CGTN.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested late last year in Vancouver at the request of Washington for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, in what has been seen as an example of the extraterritorial reach of the U.S. law. Earlier this month, U.S. authorities blacklisted Huawei and its affiliates, barring U.S. companies from selling them their technology.

Many observers have pointed out that the U.S. campaign against Huawei, which is ready to roll out its 5G technology, is to gain political leverage – and Trump's recent acknowledgment that Huawei can be used as part of a potential U.S.-China trade deal proved such suspicions.

What is the U.S. doing?

Pierucci said the U.S. government is using the law to beat competitors, as was the case with BNP Paribas, Huawei and Alstom in order to weaken companies rivaling U.S. firms.

"They're using their laws to impose their will on the world. Laws are extraterritorial," Pierucci told CGTN.

He added that the U.S. can touch every company that makes transactions in U.S. dollars, so as to destabilize bigger companies and its rivals.

What should be done?

Pierucci said the U.S. is skilled in exercising shock power.

"They're taking advantage, controlling the Internet, using the technological advances," Pierucci said. "Basically, this started after the World War. They used these in spying on competitors. So, of course, they play well," he continued.

Pierucci said he is angered by the passivity towards the behavior of the U.S., especially in Europe where Washington fines foreign companies and people according to its own laws.

"Alstom is involved in power generation. Alstom built all the nuclear companies. Basically selling Alstom to GE, we have lost control of nuclear power plants. It's a problem because 75 percent of electricity in France is produced by nuclear power plants," Pierucci said.

"People understand now. After Alstom, the French enacted an anti-corruption law. Rather than waiting for the U.S. to do the job, we've got France doing it," Pierucci said.



Jul 21, 2016
Hong Kong
Former exec of French firm Alstom: 'Yesterday Alstom, today Huawei, and tomorrow?'

MAY 29, 2019, 3:33 PM SGT

PARIS (XINHUA) - The United States uses its so-called long-arm jurisdiction as a weapon to stymie competition and other countries need to join hands to counter such a unilateralist practice, said a former executive of French company Alstom.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Mr Frederic Pierucci recalled his personal experience with the extraterritorial reach of US laws as president of Alstom's furnace division, based on which he co-authored a book entitled The American Trap.

"I hesitated a long time before publishing The American Trap, but now I don't regret it. In all modesty, I think that it contributed to a rise in awareness by employees, company leaders and politicians on this subject," he said.

Mr Pierucci said the US Department of Justice (DOJ), without notifying him first, filed charges against him in 2012 for breaching America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for his alleged role in a corruption case involving Alstom in 2003-2004 in Indonesia.

In April 2013, Mr Pierucci was arrested in New York by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. A year later, Alstom was asked to pay a huge fine of US$772 million, which eventually led to the partial acquisition of the French company by General Electric, its arch-rival.

"My book describes my descent into hell, and shows how the DOJ used me to make Alstom pay the biggest fine in its history for having broken the FCPA," Mr Pierucci told Xinhua.

"That facilitated the buyout of 70 per cent of Alstom by its main American competitor General Electric, blocking a potential merger between Alstom and Shanghai Electric Company," he added.

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For himself, the lawsuits filed by the US were a nightmare.

"In total, during two 'trips' made in a three-year interval, I spent more than 25 months in prison in the United States, 14 of which in high security quarters," he said.

"I could only see my wife twice through a bulletproof window, and I could not see my four children during these periods," he added. "On the request of the DOJ, I was also fired by Alstom for 'abandoning my post' while I was incarcerated. My career was destroyed."

A precise and detailed analysis of the facts and of jurisprudence shows clearly that the US uses its own judiciary system as an economic weapon with the objective of weakening competitors, going sometimes as far as to buy them up cheaply, said Mr Pierucci.

"By buying out Alstom, the United States gained control of the maintenance of all the French nuclear power plants, which produce 75 per cent of the electricity produced in the country," he recalled.

The United States is now using a very similar strategy against Huawei, said the erstwhile Alstom executive of Washington's recent sanctions against the Chinese telecom giant.

The US Commerce Department earlier this month put Huawei and its affiliates on a blacklist that requires the federal government approval for any sale and transfer of US technologies to the Chinese firm. Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has been arrested in Canada at the request of US authorities.

Noting that "in the background there is of course a trade war between China and the United States", Mr Pierucci said "everyone knows Huawei has taken the lead compared to its competitors" in terms of 5G technology.

Now that it is widely known that the US uses law as an economic weapon of war, all other countries in the world should unite in order to counteract such US unilateralism, he suggested.

Otherwise, "yesterday Alstom, today Huawei, and tomorrow?" said Mr Pierucci.



Jul 28, 2010
Why do people submit to extraterritorial law of other country? Just because that country happened to be a super power USA?

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