April 7, 2011 / 5:07 PM / 9 years ago

Japan's JGC settles Nigeria bribe charges with U.S.

ST, LOUIS, April 7 (Complinet) - Japan’s JGC Corp (1963.T) has agreed to pay nearly $219 million to settle U.S. Justice Department allegations it participated in a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials to obtain engineering, procurement and construction contracts.

JGC is the final member of a four-company joint venture to settle Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) charges with the Justice Department. The other members of the venture were KBR Inc’s (KBR.N) Kellogg, Brown & Root LLC, Technip SA TECF.PA and Snamprogetti Netherlands BV.

JGC, a Japanese engineering and construction company headquartered in Yokohama, entered a deferred-prosecution agreement with the Justice Department, the department said this week. JGC agreed to retain an independent consultant for two years to review and enhance its program of compliance with the anti-bribery FCPA law.

The firm also agreed to cooperate with continuing Justice Department investigations. If JGC abides by the terms of the deferred-prosecution deal, criminal charges will be dismissed when the agreement expires in 2013.

The Justice Department cited court documents as saying the TSKJ joint venture hired a consultant to pay bribes to high-level Nigerian government officials, including executive branch officials, and hired a Japanese trading company to pay bribes to lower-level Nigerian government officials. As a result, it was awarded four contracts worth $6 billion to build liquefied natural gas facilities on Bonny Island between 1995 and 2004.

Kellogg, Brown & Root, a former unit of Halliburton (HAL.N), pleaded guilty in 2009. Kellogg Brown & Root was ordered to pay a $402 million fine and retain a compliance monitor for three years. Technip signed a deferred-prosecution agreement with the Justice Department in June 2010, in which it agreed to pay a $240 million criminal penalty and to retain a compliance monitor for two years.

The following month, Snamprogetti signed its own deferred-prosecution agreement and agreed to pay a $240 million criminal penalty.

The firms have also disgorged hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mythili Raman of Justice’s Department criminal division said: “The approximately $1.5 billion in criminal and civil penalties that have been imposed on the members of the joint venture far exceed their profits from the scheme. Foreign bribery is a serious crime, and as this case makes clear, we are investigating and prosecuting it vigorously.”

(Editing by Randall Mikkelsen),

This article was first published in Complinet www.complinet.com. Complinet, part of ThomsonReuters, is a leading provider of connected risk and compliance information and on-line solutions to the global financial services community.

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