By Jonathan Davies

French engineering giant Alstom has agreed to pay $772m (£494m) to settle bribery charges with the US Department of Justice.

The DoJ accused Alstom of bribing government officials to win business contracts in Indonesia and Egypt.

The scheme was described as "astounding in its breadth, its brazenness and its worldwide consequences", while Alstom said it "deeply regretted" it.

Department of Justice deputy attorney general, James Cole, said he wanted the fine to be a warning to others.

He said: "It is both my expectation and my intention that the comprehensive resolution we are announcing today will send an unmistakable message to other companies around the world that this Department of Justice will be relentless in rooting out and punishing corruption to fullest extent of the law."

The scandal centres around Alstom's power turbines business, which it sold the majority of to General Electric in June. But the French firm said it would take responsibility for the settlement, rather than General Electric.

When GE purchased the business, it took on its liabilities which include things like fines and penalties.

Alstom chief executive Patrick Kron said: "There were a number of problems in the past and we deeply regret that.

"However, this resolution with the DOJ allows Alstom to put this issue behind us and to continue our efforts to ensure that business is conducted in a responsible way, consistent with the highest ethical standards."

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