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With $218M Fine, Feds Tie Up Nigerian Bribery Case

(CN) - A Japanese company will pay more than $218 million to settle federal charges that it bribed officials in Nigeria as part of a decade-long conspiracy involving defense contractor Kellogg Brown & Root that has netted the government $1.5 billion in fines to date.

Prosecutors say the Yokohama, Japan-based JGC Corp. was the fourth member of a joint venture called TSKJ that violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a decade-long bribery scheme.

It is the final member of the venture to be held accountable, following similar charges against Kellogg Brown & Root, Technip SA and Snamprogetti Netherlands BV, the Justice Department said.

According to a criminal information filed the same day as the settlement, JGC bribed Nigerian officials to win contracts valued at more than $6 billion from state-owned Nigeria LNG to construct the liquefied natural gas facilities on Bonny Island.

JGC authorized the joint venture to hire two agents, an individual and a Japanese trading company to bribe high-level Nigerian government officials, according to the indictment.

In exchange for the $218.8 million penalty, the Justice Department entered into a two-year deferred prosecution agreement with JGC.

"JGC agreed to retain an independent compliance consultant for a term of two years to review the design and implementation of its compliance program, to enhance its compliance program to ensure it satisfies certain standards, and to cooperate with the department in ongoing investigations," the Justice Department said in a statement. "If JGC abides by the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement, the department will dismiss the criminal information when the agreement expires."

Kellogg Brown & Root pleaded guilty in 2009 to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in a related criminal case. It was ordered to pay a $402 million criminal penalty and retain an independent compliance monitor for three years to review the design and implementation of its compliance program.

Technip and Snamprogetti also entered deferred prosecution agreements in the summer of 2010, paying $240 million each, for their involvement in the scheme.

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