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Harry Cassin
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U.S. judge tosses Pemex claims against Siemens, SK Engineering

A U.S. federal judge Tuesday threw out a civil lawsuit filed Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex against Siemens AG and a South Korea’s SK Engineering that alleged bribes to Pemex officials.

U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton said Pemex’s claims didn’t have sufficient contact with the United States.

Pemex alleged that Siemens and SK Engineering submitted a low-ball bid in 1996 to win a public contract for modernizing a Pemex refinery in Cadereyta, Mexico.

Siemens and its partner then bribed Pemex officials to recover cost overruns, the suit alleged.

Pemex sought $500 million in damages.

It said Peter Paul Muller, Siemens former top lawyer in Mexico, had confirmed the corrupt payments.

The suit was filed in U.S. federal court in New York City.

The judge’s ruling is another loss for foreign government-linked entities trying to assert victims’ rights in connection with FCPA offenses.

Siemens’ settlement in December 2008 with the DOJ and SEC for $800 million is still the biggest FCPA case of all time.

In 2011, Costa Rica’s state-owned utility tried to intervene as a victim in an FCPA settlement between the DOJ and SEC and Alcatel-Lucent. U.S. federal law grants victims of certain crimes the right to intervene and recover damages.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit said Costa Rica’s ICE — the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad S.A — wasn’t entitled to victim status.

The court then refused to block Alcatel-Lucent’s $137 million FCPA settlement with the DOJ and SEC.

In the Pemex case, its lawyers said they’re reviewing the options after Tuesday’s dismissal.


Richard L. Cassin is the Publisher and Editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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