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Tesler Gets 21 Months

The London lawyer who delivered more than $130 million in bribes to Nigerian officials was sentenced today in Houston to 21 months in federal prison.

Jeffrey Tesler, left, pleaded guilty in March last year to an FCPA conspiracy and to violating the FCPA. As part of his plea, Tesler forfeited $149 million, the biggest FCPA forfeiture by an individual.

He was also fined $25,000 today by Judge Keith B. Ellison and ordered to serve two years of supervised release after his prison term.

He could have been jailed for up to ten years.

Tesler, 63, a dual citizen of Britain and Israel, was indicted in February 2009 and charged with one count of conspiracy to violate and ten counts of violating the FCPA.

He fought extradition in the U.K. courts but was handed over to U.S. authorities last March.

The DOJ said Houston-based KBR and three partners paid $132 million to a Gibraltar corporation controlled by Tesler, and that the money was then used to bribe Nigerian officials. The companies won $6 billion in contracts between 1995 and 2004 to build natural gas processing facilities on Nigeria’s Bonny Island. They all eventually settled FCPA enforcement actions, paying a total of $1.65 billion.

Tesler’s co-defendant, Wojciech Chodan, a former U.K.-based KBR manager, was sentenced yesterday in Houston to just one year of unsupervised probation. He was credited with helping authorities prosecute Tesler.

The final defendant in the case, former KBR boss Albert ‘Jack’ Stanley, is also scheduled to be sentenced today.

At Tesler’s plea hearing last year, Judge Ellison said: “You seem like such an unlikely person to be here. Was it just that everyone was doing this?”

“I think that’s a fair comment,” Tesler replied.

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