Friday, September 15, 2006
The SEC settled a civil complaint against Jim Bob (J.B.) Brown -- my favorite defendant name this year -- a former executive of Willbros Group for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The company provides engineering services to the oil and gas industry, and according to the SEC Litigation Release (here):
The Commission alleges in its complaint that Brown, a former supervisory employee in Willbros's Nigerian and Latin American operations, participated in three separate schemes to bribe foreign officials. First, the complaint alleges that, in February and March 2005, Brown procured $1 million on behalf of a Willbros affiliate and delivered that money as partial payment of previously-made commitments to Nigerian government officials and to employees of the operator of a joint venture majority owned by an arm of the Nigerian government. He also assisted, according to the complaint, in the payment of an additional $550,000 that was also used to satisfy the earlier commitments. Second, Brown, in return for the granting to Willbros of a $3 million contract, knowingly assisted a scheme to pay a $300,000 bribe to officials of an oil and gas company owned by the government of Ecuador and its subsidiary. Finally, Brown knowingly assisted a long-running scheme in which employees of Willbros affiliates used fabricated invoices to procure cash from the company's administrative headquarters in Houston that was used to, among other things, bribe Nigerian tax and court officials.
The Commission can move for a civil penalty in a later proceeding, but at this point Brown only agreed to be enjoined from future violations. (ph)