Snamprogetti, Technip to pay penalties in Nigerian bribe case

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 8
-- Snamprogetti Netherlands BV and Technip SA have agreed to pay $240 million criminal penalties each in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) case involving bribes to officials in the construction of an LNG plant on Bonny Island, Nigeria.
For each firm, the US Department of Justice filed a deferred prosecution agreement and a criminal information in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

The information against Technip charges one count of conspiracy and one count of violating the FCPA. The information against Snamprogetti charges one count of conspiracy and one count of aiding and abetting violations of the FCPA.

The department agreed to defer prosecution for 2 years and will dismiss the criminal information if the firms and their owners and former owners meet compliance obligations and cooperate in other investigations.

In connection with same case, Snamprogetti and Technip reached settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission for FCPA violations. The agreements include disgorgements of profits, $125 million for Snamprogetti and its former owner ENI, and $97 million for Technip.

The companies, along with Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. and a Japanese engineering and construction firm, were in a joint venture that received engineering, procurement, and construction contracts from Nigeria LNG Ltd. during 1994-2004.

According to court documents, they authorized the payment of bribes through intermediaries.

In February 2009, Kellogg Brown & Root LLC and its former parent, Halliburton Co., entered guilty pleas and agreed to pay a $402 million criminal fine to settle charges related to the case (OGJ Online, Feb. 16, 2009). Former KBR Chief Executive Albert Stanley pleaded guilty in September 2008 to conspiring to violate the FCPA.

The US is seeking extradition from the UK of two individuals charged the case, agent Jeffrey Tesler and Wojciech Chodan, whom the Justice Department describes as a former salesperson and consultant of a UK subsidiary of KBR.

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