GE, Slovenia’s HSE reach settlement over troubled power plant

Ljubljana, March 11 (AFP/APP):Slovenian power supplier HSE said Thursday it has reached an out-of-court settlement with US giant General Electric over alleged irregularities in the construction of a much-delayed coal-fired power plant outside Ljubljana.
HSE said in a statement that GE had agreed to pay 261 million euros ($310 million) to settle a dispute over the TES 6 unit at the coal power plant in Sostanj, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of the capital.
TES 6 was originally built by French engineering giant Alstom, whose electrical grid businesses were taken over by GE in 2015.
But allegations of corruption have since arisen in relation to the construction process.
The latest settlement does not affect an ongoing investigation into corruption and money laundering charges filed by Slovenian prosecutors last year.
Slovenian media reported that among those charged were two Alstom officials in charge of the deal at the time, Frank Lehmann and Josef Reisel, and the Alstom power company itself.
The deal for the construction of TES 6 was signed in 2008, but was plagued by years of delays.
It finally started operating in late 2014, but the cost of the project, initially estimated at 650 million euros, eventually exceeded 1.4 billion euros.
The TES plant accounts for about a third of Slovenia’s energy supply and is one of the country’s key electricity producers, along with the nuclear power plant of Krsko.

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