Corruption concerns resurface at Leighton

By Helen Wright03 October 2013

Australian contractor Leighton has said it has launched litigation aiming to recover AU$ 5.6 million (US$ 5.3 million) in damages from a former employee over alleged misconduct.

It has also confirmed that a separate, confidential investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) over alleged bribery in Iraq was still on-going.

After a number of internal investigations relating to the construction of a barge in Indonesia by its Leighton Offshore subsidiary, the contractor said it had now taken action in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

The lawsuit aims to recover AU$ 5.6 million (US$ 5.3 million) in damages from the unnamed former employee for alleged breaches of contractual and fiduciary duties. Leighton said it could not provide any more details as the case was currently before the court.

Meanwhile, the company, which is owned by Spanish contractor ACS, said it continued to co-operate with a separate AFP investigation into Leighton Offshore’s activities in Iraq.

In February 2012, the contractor self-reported a possible breach of Australian laws relating to payments in Iraq. These payments were allegedly connected to the expansion of offshore facilities for Iraq's crude oil exports.

The contractor later fired a senior manager after an internal review of the Iraq projects identified governance failures.

Leighton issued a statement on the two alleged corruption instances in response to local media accusations that there was a culture of corruption and cover ups at the company.

“The Iraq investigation and the construction of the barge in Indonesia are exceptional instances that are the subject of either an on-going confidential investigation by the AFP, or litigation commenced by Leighton which is before the courts,” the company said.

It added that the fact that it had self-reported the Iraq matter, togethetr with its decision to file a lawsuit over the Indonesian barge case, was, "evidence of the culture of integrity and openness that has been established across the Leighton group.”

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