Agents of Influence

Bombardier is a Canadian transportation conglomerate that controls Bombardier Transportation, a Swedish engineering firm and one of the world’s largest producers of railway signaling equipment. Bombardier technology makes the trains run from Eurasia to Latin America, and its globe-spanning business shows no signs of slowing down.

But after a months-long joint investigation based on secret internal documents, reporters from OCCRP, SVT “Uppdrag Granskning,” TT, and Radio Canada can reveal some unpleasant truths. It turns out that Bombardier Transportation owes some of its success to a corrupt partnership with a small group of powerful people close to Vladimir Yakunin, the former head of Russian Railways.

In the following days, we will publish a series of stories that demonstrate how Bombardier’s collusion with “the Partners,” as its employees call the Russians, allow it to win lucrative tenders across the former Soviet Union. The deals involve shadowy shell companies, grossly inflated prices, and bribes of senior government officials. “It’s like a Russian doll -- there is layer upon layer,” says a well-known anticorruption expert. In modern global business, sometimes it’s what’s underneath the surface that counts.

Stories

Agents of Influence

Bombardier’s Azerbaijani Partner Has Chickens and Cows. Who Got the Millions?

Trans-Signal-Rabita, an Azerbaijani company, came out of nowhere to score a huge deal: A US$ 56.8 million share of a larger project with Swedish engineering giant Bombardier Transportation to install signaling equipment for Azerbaijan’s state-owned railway company. But when OCCRP reporters tracked down its owner, they found only a rural electrician living in a remote village near the Iranian border.

Bombardier Sweden Investigated for Alleged Bribery in Azerbaijan

A Swedish engineering company is accused of shuffling more than US$ 85 million to a “paper” company in a deal involving the sale of railway signaling equipment to Azerbaijan. Prosecutors suspect the money was used to bribe Azerbaijani officials.