Litigation

Technip To Pay $338 Million To Settle Foreign Bribery Charges

HOUSTON - A French engineering and construction company has agreed to pay $98 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and $240 million to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) related to $6 billion in construction contracts in Nigeria, the SEC said in a press release June 28 (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Technip, No. 4:10-cv-02289, S.D. Texas).

The SEC filed a complaint against Technip in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas June 28 and alleged that between 1995 and 2008, executives at Technip "devised and implemented a scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials to assist in obtaining multiple contracts worth over $6 billion to build liquefied natural gas ('LNG') production facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria."

It said Technip was part of a four-company joint venture called "TSKJ" in which Technip won the contracts.

"To conceal the illicit payments, Technip and others, through the joint venture, entered into sham 'consulting' or 'services' agreements with intermediaries who would then funnel their purportedly legitimate fees to Nigerian officials.  Specifically, Technip, through the joint venture, implemented this scheme by using a Gibraltar shell company controlled by a solicitor based in the United Kingdom ('the UK Agent') and a Japanese trading company ('the Japanese Agent') as conduits for the bribes," the SEC said.

On Feb. 11, 2009, one of Technip's joint venture partners, Kellogg, Brown & Root Inc. (KBR) and its former parent company Halliburton Co. agreed to pay $177 million to the SEC and $402 million to the DOJ to settle similar charges.

Together with Technip's payment, the combined sanctions of $917 million represent the largest combined settlements ever paid to date to the U.S. resulting from an FCPA violation," the SEC said.

[Editor's Note:  Full coverage will be in the July issue of Mealey's Emerging Securities Litigation.  In the meantime, the complaint is available at www.mealeysonline.com or by calling the Customer Support Department at 1-800-833-9844.  Document #57-100713-046C.  For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]

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For more information, call editor Dylan McGuire at 610-205-1114, or e-mail him at Dylan.McGuire@lexisnexis.com.