French Company Settles FCPA Charges with a $240 Million Penalty

On June 28, 2010, Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Technip S.A., a global engineering, construction, and services company based in Paris, France, has agreed to a $240 million criminal penalty to resolve charges related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for its participation in a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials to obtain engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contracts. The EPC contracts to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria, were valued at more than $6 billion. 

DOJ filed a deferred prosecution agreement and a criminal information against Technip in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The two-count information charges Technip with one count of conspiracy and one count of violating the FCPA. 

Technip, Kellogg Brown & Root Inc (KBR) and two other companies were part of a joint venture that was awarded four EPC contracts by Nigeria LNG Ltd. (NLNG) between 1995 and 2004 to build LNG facilities on Bonny Island. The government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was the largest shareholder of NLNG. 

According to court documents, Technip authorized the joint venture to hire two agents to pay bribed 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 $182 million to its agents to be forwarded to Nigerian government officials as bribes. 

Under the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement, DOJ agreed to deter prosecution of Technip for two years. Meanwhile, Technip is obligated to obtain an independent compliance monitor for a two-year period to review the design and implementation for Technip's compliance program and to cooperate with the department in ongoing investigations. If Technip abides by the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement, DOJ will dismiss the criminal information when the term of the agreement expires. 

Technip also reached a settlement of a related civil complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charging Technip with violating the FCPA's anti-bribery, books and records, and internal controls provisions. As part of this settlement, Technip agreed to pay $98 million in disgorgement of profits relating to those violations. 

Including today's resolutions, a total of $917 million in criminal and civil penalties have been obtained to date as a result of the ongoing DOJ and SEC investigations of the scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials in order to win the Bonny Island EPC contract.