Bilfinger settles Nigerian bribery case

By Chris Sleight10 December 2013

Bilfinger SE has agreed a US$ 32 million fine with the US Department of Justice for breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Charges were brought because of bribes the company and its joint-venture partner Willbros paid to Nigerian government officials on the US$ 387 million Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS) project.

The fine is part of a deferred prosecution agreement. Bilfinger must continue to improve its compliance processes and involve an independent compliance monitor. If sufficient progress is made, criminal proceedings will be dropped after three years.

The case dates back to the 2003 to 2005 period, when Bilfinger conspired with pipeline contractor Willbros to pay more than US$ 6 million in bribes to Nigerian government officials to help it win contracts on the EGGS project.

Bilfinger CEO Roland Koch said, “We are pleased that we have now been able to put these events from the distant past behind us. In recent years Bilfinger has consistently expanded its compliance instruments and today has a modern and efficient system.”

Willbros and some of the individuals involved came to various settlements with the DoJ from 2006 to 2009. These saw two former Willbros executives and a consultant to the company convicted with jail terms and personal fines, as well as a US$ 22 million fine and deferred prosecution for the company. Having complied with the terms of that settlement, the charges against Willbros were dismissed in April 2012.

One former Willbros executive, Kenneth Tillery, was also charged in 2008, but has absconded and is yet to face trail.

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