5 June 2010 | Andy Allen
French oil services company Technip has agreed to pay a total of $338 million (£223 million) to settle charges that it bribed Nigerian government officials.
The settlement means the company will avoid prosecution after allegations it participated in a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian officials to obtain engineering, procurement and construction contracts. The deals, to build liquefied natural gas facilities on Bonny Island in Nigeria, were valued at more than $6 billion (£4 billion).
According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) a joint venture formed by Technip, Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc (KBR), and two other companies paid approximately $182 million (£120 million) into two funds intended to pay for bribes to Nigerian government officials.
In Feburary Technip announced it would be setting aside money to pay the fines. The company’s chairman and CEO, Thierry Pilenko, said last month: "The final agreement with the US authorities, completely in line with the road map that we laid out in February, puts this legacy story behind us and enables us to focus on continuing to develop Technip’s business.”
The DoJ will not pursue a prosecution of Technip in return for the company’s agreement to enhance its compliance programme and to cooperate with investigators.
KBR’s successor company, Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, admitted the scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials in February 2009 and was ordered to pay a $402 million (£266 million) fine and to retain an independent compliance monitor for three years.