Search

Editors

Richard L. Cassin Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman Senior Editor

Michael Scher
Senior Editor

Elizabeth K. Spahn Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson Contributing Editor

Michael Kuria Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox Contributing Editor

Philip Fitzgerald Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn Contributing Editor

Bill Waite Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets Contributing Editor

Brook Horowitz Contributing Editor

Connect
FCPA Blog Daily News

Entries in Willbros (28)

Monday
Mar232015

Bilfinger confirms Brazil World Cup bribes

German engineering firm Bilfinger said Sunday an internal investigation has found that employees of a subsidiary paid bribes to public officials in Brazil for contracts related to the 2014 World Cup.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec102013

Germany's Bilfinger in $32 million settlement for Nigeria bribes

Mannheim, Germany-based Bilfinger SE, an engineering and services company in the energy sector, agreed to pay a $32 million penalty to resolve charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by bribing government officials in Nigeria.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May062013

Novak jailed in Willbros case

A former consultant for pipeline contractor Willbros International Inc. was sentenced Friday for his role in a scheme to pay more than $6 million in bribes to government and political party officials in Nigeria.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr192012

Willbros Wins Final Dismissal

Willbros Group, Inc. said in an SEC filing that the FCPA charges against it were formally dismissed this month.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug042011

Will Nigeria Take Another Bite?

The penalty for paying bribes in Nigeria may increase following demands from a Nigerian NGO that the Nigerian government seek its share of the recent anti-graft bounty. Maybe…

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct062010

ABB In, Titan Out

ABB joins the list of top ten FCPA settlements of all time, and Titan Corporation drops to number eleven. Here's the latest list, with a few candidates that may join soon.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep132010

The Enforcement Rap Sheet

If the DOJ and SEC are prosecuting corporations instead of individuals for FCPA violations -- an idea raised in another post -- the numbers should show it. So let's take a look.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep092010

Overheard In Hollywood

After Gerald and Patricia Green were convicted last year of one count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, nine counts of violating the FCPA, and seven counts of money laundering, prosecutors asked for ten-year jail terms. The Greens' lawyers argued for no time behind bars.

In August, and after much delay, Judge George Wu sentenced the husband-and-wife Hollywood movie producers to just six months in jail and six months home confinement. The sentences were among the most lenient for individuals convicted of FCPA and related offenses.

We don't know Judge Wu's reasons for imposing the light jail terms. But here's a fascinating excerpt from a sentencing memo filed by the Greens' lawyers. Regular readers will see familiar arguments from posts here and here (and we continued the discussion in a more recent post here).

Defense counsel said:

The ten highest FCPA settlements ever have occurred within the last five years. . . . Most involve some combination of criminal fines and SEC disgorgement of profits.
These ten cases have monetary penalties totaling approximately $2.8 billion. Of the ten, the six highest occurred within last 20 months and total approximately $2.67 billion.
This trend has begged the question among pundits whether the government’s goal relating to FCPA cases is actually enforcement, or simply putting a price tag on noncompliance. Do these giant financial penalties actually punish and deter the giants or, simply establish a cost of doing business and shield top executives culpable in the most egregious FCPA violations from punishment?

Despite the government’s repeated assertions regarding increased criminal prosecution of individuals and the sentences those individuals receive, such examples are glaringly absent . . . . In fact, of the ten cases listed, only Titan, Willbros, and KBR have resulted in criminal prosecution of individuals potentially resulting in a term of incarceration.

The prosecutors said in a reply brief:

[T]his Court must decline defendants' remarkable invitation to join the wholesale speculation of FCPA "pundits" as to whether corporate settlements are "shielding" top corporate executives from punishment. Aside from being pure conjecture, such a question has no bearing on "the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar conduct." . . . . (citations omitted)

*     *     *

Our Top Ten post was also cited and linked in the D & O Diary's much anticipated annual event, What to Watch Now in the World of D&O.

Kevin LaCroix wrote:

Indeed, the top ten FCPA settlements collectively total $2.8 billion, but the top six, all of which took place just in the last 20 months, represent 95% of the total. Four of the top six settlements were reached just in 2010. Because of the massive scale of the settlements that the SEC has been achieving in this area, the potential rewards for whistleblowers are enormous.

*     *     *

Many thanks to all readers, inside the courtroom and elsewhere.

If anyone knows what it means to be called a "pundit" with quotation marks, please let us know. But only if it's flattering, which we somehow doubt.

Friday
Aug272010

Graft Buster Enters French Politics

Eva Joly, a Norwegian-born former French magistrate, is running for the French presidency under the Green Party banner.

She became famous across Europe for being a fearless anti-corruption campaigner, even taking on former minister Bernard Tapie and Crédit Lyonnais bank.

Her best-known case involved French oil giant Elf Aquitaine. She uncovered fraud leading to criminal convictions of Elf’s top two executives and to the resignation of Roland Dumas, president of France’s Constitutional Court. She received death threats during the eight-year investigation.

She moved from Norway to France at 18. After working her way through night law school and then practicing law, in 1990 she became an investigating magistrate in Paris.

She's also worked for the Icelandic government, helping it uncover white collar crime that contributed to the country's financial collapse.

Last year, Joly, 66, was elected as a French member of the European Parliament. Now she wants to run for president of France in the 2012 elections.

She told the France24 news site: “I am going into politics because I recognise the limitations of voluntary action … I have a strong desire to improve relations between the developed and developing world. I want to change power structures within society. I am desperate to see a more just and more united society.

*     *     *

Why say it? It's fashionable these days for critics -- we won't name them -- to say there's no evidence the FCPA has reduced bribery. But saying there's no evidence of crimes not committed isn't exactly, you know, conclusive of anything.

Then again, there's plenty of evidence of less bribery because of the FCPA at companies like Siemens, BAE, Daimler, KBR, ABB, Baker Hughes, Willbros, Chevron, and so on. For us, that's the evidence that counts.

*    *   *

In whose interests? Great post today from Kevin LaCroix at the D&O Diary -- Do Defendant Companies Financially Underperform Following Securities Lawsuit Settlements? 

Thursday
Aug192010

Tillery's 'Extraction'

A report this week from Nigeria said FCPA fugitive James "Ken" Tillery has been seized by the FBI in Lagos and is being held by American authorities. But another report on Wednesday said the Nigerian high court had halted the extradition at least until the end of the month because due process wasn't followed.

Tillery, 51, was the managing director of Willbros in Nigeria. He was indicted in 2008 along with Willbros' consultant Paul G. Novak. They were charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, two counts of violating the FCPA in connection with the authorization of specific corrupt payments to officials in Nigeria and Ecuador, and one count of conspiring to launder the bribe payments through companies controlled by Novak.

Novak, 43, pleaded guilty in November 2009 to paying $6 million in bribes to officials who worked in the Nigerian government, in government-owned companies, and in a political party there. He hasn't been sentenced.

Tillery has been at large since his indictment. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 35 years in prison.

One report from Nigeria said the next hearing on Tillery's extradition will be on August 30.

In May 2008, Willbros Group Inc. and Willbros International Inc. entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay a $22 million criminal penalty for the illegal payments to government officials in Nigeria and Ecuador. 

In January this year, two former Willbros executives were jailed for bribery. Jim Bob Brown, 48, was sentenced in federal court in Houston to one year and one day in prison and fined $17,500; Jason Edward Steph, 40, was sentenced to 15 months and fined $2,000. Brown had pleaded guilty in 2006 and Steph in 2007.

An African press report said Tillery is "an American by birth, who had since naturalized as a Nigerian." It  said normal extradition procedures weren't followed and characterized Tillery's arrest as an "extraction" and a "forceful extradition."

The U.S. Justice Department hasn't publicly commented.