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JGC Resolves Criminal Charges

Japan-based construction firm JGC Corporation — the last of four partners who together paid $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials — agreed today to a $218.8 million criminal penalty to resolve FCPA-related charges.

JGC’s settlement is the sixth biggest Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case of all time. Nine of the current top ten FCPA cases involve non-U.S. companies.

The Justice Department charged JGC in federal court in Houston with one count of conspiracy and one count of aiding and abetting FCPA violations. The negotiated settlement included a two-year deferred prosecution agreement.

With JGC’s criminal fine, the DOJ and SEC have now recovered about $1.5 billion in criminal and civil penalties from the four partners in the Nigeria venture called the TSKJ consortium. The group was led by KBR, which paid fines and penalties of $579 million to resolve FCPA charges. Italy’s Snamprogetti paid $365 million to U.S. enforcement agencies, and France’s Technip paid $338 million.

The TSKJ consortium won four contracts between 1995 and 2004 to build LNG facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria. The government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation held 49 percent of the Bonny Island project. TSKJ’s contracts were worth more than $6 billion.

The consortium hired Jeffrey Tesler and a Japanese trading company to pay bribes to Nigerian government officials. “TSKJ paid approximately $132 million to a Gibraltar corporation controlled by Tesler and more than $50 million to the Japanese trading company during the course of the bribery scheme,” the DOJ said. “According to court documents, JGC intended for these payments to be used, in part, for bribes to Nigerian government officials.”

Tesler, 61, pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston in March to conspiracy and violating the FCPA. He still faces final sentencing but already agreed to forfeit $149 million to the U.S. government, the biggest individual FCPA forfeiture in history.

Albert “Jack” Stanley, 66, KBR’s former CEO, pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston in September 2008 to a two-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and to commit mail and wire fraud. He’s free on bail of $100,000.

Stanley’s preliminary sentence under his plea deal called for 84 months in prison and a restitution payment of $10.8 million. The jail term is subject to review based on his cooperation.

Wojciech Chodan, 72, a former KBR manager in the U.K., pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA. Chodan, who holds a Polish passport, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 27.

A copy of the DOJ’s April 6, 2011 release can be viewed here.

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