July 17, 2015
Louis Berger International Inc, a New-Jersey-based construction management company, will pay a $17.1 million criminal fine to resolve charges that it bribed officials to win government contracts abroad, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.
Two former executives also pleaded guilty to charges brought under the Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act, the department said.
According to prosecutors, the company and its employees bribed officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kuwait between 1998 and 2010 to obtain government construction management contracts.
About $3.9 million in bribes were paid to foreign officials, prosecutors said, including by the two former executives Richard Hirsch, 61, and James McClung, 59.
Hirsch was Louis Berger's senior vice president for Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. McClung was a senior vice president in India and Vietnam.
The illegal payments were disguised as "commitment fees," "counterpart per diems," and third-party vendor payments, the Justice Department said.
Louis Berger said in a statement that the three-year deferred prosecution agreement resulted from its own self-reporting to the Justice Department since 2010, the year the company agreed to pay more than $69 million to the U.S. government to settle charges for overbilling between 2001 and 2007.
"Today's settlement is the critical final milestone in our reform, as it was important for us to take responsibility for the historic actions of former managers and close the chapter on the company's pre-2010 era," Louis Berger Chairman Nicholas J. Masucci said in a statement.
The company added that since 2010, it improved its internal controls, policies and procedures and that a government-appointed compliance monitor would test and report on them over the next three years.
Louis Berger, which is headquartered in Morristown, operates in more than 50 countries and has about 6,000 employees, according to its website.