Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cheney Reportedly To Be Charged By Nigerian Authorities In Connection With Bonny Island

During Tuesday's Senate subcommittee FCPA hearing, Senator Christopher Coons noted, in connection with other nations ramping up enforcement of their own bribery laws, that "today we are the only nation that is extending extraterritorial reach and going after the citizens of other countries, we may some day find ourselves on the receiving end of such transnational actions."

Prescient statement.

Bloomberg is reporting (here) that Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will soon files charges against former Vice President Dick Cheney and officials from five foreign companies, including Halliburton Co., in connection with the Bonny Island bribery scheme.

Bloomberg reports that indictments will be filed in a Nigeria court and that an arrest warrant for Cheney “will be issued and transmitted through Interpol” for enforcement. As noted by Bloomberg, Cheney was CEO of Halliburton from 1995 until 2000.

In February 2009, Halliburton, Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, and KBR Inc. agreed to pay $579 million in combined DOJ/SEC FCPA enforcement action to resolve charges related to Bonny Island. According to the DOJ, the improper conduct took place between 1994 and 2004. The case remains the largest ever FCPA enforcement action against a U.S. company.

See here for the DOJ resolution and here for the SEC resolution.

The DOJ's press release (here) states that the "successful prosecution of KBR [...] demonstrates that no one is above the law" and that the FBI "will continue to investigate these matters by working in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, both foreign and domestic, to ensure that corporate executives who have been found guilty of bribing foreign officials in return for lucrative business contracts, are punished to the full extent of the law."

Over the summer, Technip and Snamprogetti/Eni, joint venture partners with KBR, also agreed to settle FCPA enforcement actions in connection with Bonny Island.

Technip agreed to pay $338 million in a joint DOJ / SEC enforcement action (see here and here).

Snamprogetti/ENI agreed to pay $365 million in a joint DOJ / SEC enforcement action (see here and here).

The fourth joint venture partner, JGC of Japan, has yet to resolve its exposure although it has been reported that it is settlement discussions with the DOJ.

For a complete run-down of "Bonny Island Bribery Club Statistics" see here.

The only individual charged thus far has been Albert Jack Stanley (see here). Stanley pleaded guilty and was originally scheduled to be sentenced in May 2009, but has not yet been sentenced.

Two joint venture agents, Jeffrey Tesler and Wojciech Chodan (both U.K. citizens) have also been charged (see here). Tesler and Chodan have been fighting extradition.

Yesterday, the U.K. Guardian (here) reported that Chodan, who had given up his extradition battle, is to arrive in the U.S. in the next 10 days to stand trial. The Guardian reports that Tesler will seek to overturn his extradition today.

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