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KBR officially charged in Nigeria bribery case

THE US government has formally charged engineering company KBR Inc in a US$180 million, decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian officials to secure US$6 billion in contracts.

KBR Inc was charged on Friday with five counts, including conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

But former KBR parent Halliburton Co said last month it would pay US$559 million to end the investigation if the government approved the settlement, which was the largest penalty against a US company for bribery charges under federal law.

The bribes were paid between 1994 and 2004 to secure four contracts for a KBR joint venture to build and expand Nigeria's Bonny Island liquefied natural gas terminal, according to the government.

A truly multinational scheme, it involved partner companies from Italy, France and Japan, and huge sums of money wired through banks in Amsterdam and New York to accounts in Monaco and Switzerland.

KBR also used shell companies in Portugal, referred to by the government as Madeira Companies 1, 2 and 3, in an effort to avoid breaking the FCPA law, the government said.

"KBR avoided placing US citizens on the board of managers of Madeira Company 3 as a further part of KBR's intentional effort to insulate itself from FCPA liability," according to prosecutors' filing with the US District Court in Texas.

Albert "Jack" Stanley, a former KBR chief executive, pleaded guilty last September to charges stemming from the Nigeria bribes and agreed to cooperate with investigators.


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