France's Technip to pay $338 million to settle bribery case in US

Technip SA, a global engineering, construction and services company based in Paris, yesterday agreed to pay a $240-million fine to the US Department of Justice to settle a bribery case in Nigeria.

The justice department had alleged that Technip had paid $182 million to Nigerian government officials to land engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria, valued at more than $6 billion.

Technip, Houston-based Kellogg Brown & Root Inc (KBR) and two other companies were part of a four-company consortium that secured four EPC contracts from Nigeria LNG Ltd between 1995 and 2004 to build LNG facilities on Bonny Island.

According to court documents, Technip authorised the joint venture to hire two agents, Jeffrey Tesler and a Japanese trading company, to pay bribes to a range of Nigerian government officials, including top-level executive branch officials, to assist Technip and the joint venture in obtaining the EPC contracts.

The joint venture paid approximately $132 million to a Gibraltar corporation controlled by Tesler and more than $50 million to the Japanese trading company during the course of the bribery scheme. According to court documents, Technip intended these payments to be used, in part, for bribes to Nigerian government officials.

The justice department has the right to prosecute Technip since its American Depository Shares were traded on the New York Stock Exchange from 2001 until 2007.