Company Agrees to Pay $22 Million Penalty for FCPA Violations

On May 14, 2008, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Willbros Group Inc., a publicly traded company that provides construction, engineering, and other services in the oil and gas industry, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Wilbros International Inc. have agreed to pay a $22 million penalty in connection with corrupt payments to Nigerian and Ecuadorean government officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). 

The DOJ stated:

According to the criminal information, from late 2003 through March 2005, Willbros employees agreed to make corrupt payments totaling more than $6.3 million to Nigerian government officials to assist in obtaining and retaining a $387 million contract for work on a major engineering, procurement and construction gas pipeline project known as the Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS). In exchange for the EGGS project, the conspirators corruptly paid, promised to pay and authorized payments to officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the state-owned oil company in Nigeria; NNPC's subsidiary, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS); a senior official in the executive branch of the Nigerian federal government; officials of a multinational oil company serving as the operator of the EGGS joint venture; and a political party.

In recognition of Willbros' thorough review of the improper payments, the companies' exemplary cooperation, the companies' implementation of enhanced compliance policies and procedures, and the companies' engagement of an independent corporate monitor, the Department has agreed to defer prosecution of these companies for three years. If Willbros Group and Willbros International abide by the terms of the agreement, the Department will dismiss the criminal information when the term of the agreement ends.