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Paris court sentences two former Technip execs for Nigeria bribes

Two former executives of French engineering and construction giant Technip S.A. were handed light fines by a Paris court Wednesday for their role in the multi-million dollar bribery scheme to win contracts for development of the Bonny Island gas facility.

Jean-Marie Deseilligny, Technip’s general manager, and Etienne Gory, the company’s commercial manager for Africa, were ordered to pay fines of €10,000 and €5,000 respectively.

Paris-based Technip S.A. was a partner in the TSKJ Nigeria consortium with Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V., Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. (KBR), and JGC Corporation. Between 1995 and 2004, TSKJ won four contracts worth more than $6 billion for the Bonny Island facility.

In earlier FCPA settlements reached with the U.S. Justice Department, the TSKJ partners admitted paying $132 million to a Gibraltar corporation controlled by London lawyer Jeffrey Tesler and $51 million to Marubeni of Japan. The money was intended to be used to bribe Nigerian government officials.

The DOJ and SEC recovered more than $1.7 billion in penalties and disgorgement from TSKJ and its agents. Four of the six biggest FCPA cases of all time involve TSKJ.

Jeffrey Tesler, TSKJ’s former agent, is now serving a 21-month sentence in a U.S. prison, and Jack Stanely, KBR’s ex-CEO, is serving 30 months.

In the Paris action, the €10,000 and €5,000 fines fell short of the €100,000 fines for Deseilligny and Gory that prosecutors had asked for.

Last year, the OECD Working Group on Bribery published a report praising France for stepping up anti-corruption efforts but calling on Paris to tighten laws and boost fines.


Maria Dolores Hernandez J. is a researcher for ethiXbase.

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  1. Not a surprising development in my opinion. It appears there has been a tacit agreement since the 1950's that French companies operating in Africa would pay bribes to African government ministers and leaders, with a proportion of those sums earmarked by those recipients for contributions to Paris election funds. A certain level of guarantees apparently existed or may still exist, ensuring the appropriate intervention of French military forces to assist when such leaders are in trouble, or to provide an escape route when such interventions did not work effectively. This tacit agreement may well be the cause of the extraordinarily long terms of service for leaders of former French colonies, and Technip's case may be part of that process. I would be interested to hear from anyone else on this topic.

  2. Trivial toothless token tolls do not terrify truthless trolls.

    Personal liability in te form of heavy fines and prison time are the only things that will have a preventative effect via the signal effect message to other greedy and corrupt industrialists.

    The fines presented here likely represent a fraction of a senior manager's bonus over the ten year period these illegal schemes were active. As long as the individual profits outweigh the potential fines and jail time, the temptation to commit such crimes is not adequately counter-balanced and some individuals will take the risk.

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