Briton pleads guilty in US to Nigerian bribery

6th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British former executive of US firm Kellogg, Brown & Root pleaded guilty Monday to bribing Nigerian government officials to obtain gas contracts, the US government said.

Wojciech Chodan, a former commercial vice president and consultant to a British subsidiary of KBR -- a former subsidiary of Halliburton -- admitted he conspired to violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a decade-long international bribery scheme, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Chodan, 72, was extradited from Britain to the United States on Friday and pleaded guilty Monday in a federal court in Houston, Texas, to one count under the corruption law. He faces five years in prison, with sentencing expected on February 22.

As part of his plea agreement, Chodan has agreed to pay 726,885 dollars, the Justice Department said.

Chodan bribed Nigerian government officials in a scheme to obtain engineering, procurement and construction contracts to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria, valued at more than six billion dollars.

"Chodan admitted that from approximately 1994 through June 2004, he and his co-conspirators agreed to pay bribes to Nigerian government officials, including top-level executive branch officials, in order to obtain and retain the EPC contracts," the department said.

The bribes totaled more than 130 million dollars.

US firm Halliburton and its former subsidiary KBR agreed last year to pay 579 million dollars in US fines related to the ongoing federal investigation.

It was one of the biggest fines ever paid by US companies in a foreign corruption case.

© 2010 AFP

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