Belgian group Tractebel, part of the French Suez Lyonnaise group, has been fined 148m euros by the Belgian government’s tax authority for ‘dubious practices’ particularly the payment of ‘substantial commissions’ amounting to misconduct in its attempts to gain contracts in Kazakhstan. Tractebel has also reputedly paid bonuses to some of its executives through offshore accounts.

The company acknowledges that it has been fined but will not disclose the amount. Meanwhile it is appealing against the penalties.

•Tractabel’s N American subsidiary has started building the 720 MWe Hot Spring County power station in Arkansas. Construction is due to be completed by mid-2004.