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Louis Berger admits paying bribes

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, July 21 - Officials of American company Louis Berger paid substantial amounts as bribe to government functionaries in four countries including India during 1998-2010, and the United States Department of Justice is investigating all the dealings of the company during the period. In fact, the details of payment of bribes by officers of the company came to light way back in 2012 and the matter was reported in India only recently, which caused ripples in different parts of the country, including Assam.

The company officials paid bribes to government officials in India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait amounting to 3.9 million dollars to secure government contracts. To conceal the payments, the conspirators made the payments in the guise of �commitment fees� and other payments to third party vendors. In reality, the payments were intended to bribe officials who awarded contracts to the company.

In an e-mail reply to questions by The Assam Tribune, Regine de la Cruz, a spokesperson for Louis Berger said that all the projects of the company during the period (1998 to 2010) are being investigated by the United States Department of Justice. The spokesperson said that after the malpractices in India and other parts of Asia came to light, two senior officials involved in such dealings � James McClung and Richard Hirsch, were �separated� from the company in the first half of 2012. The company also launched a corporate reforms programme and instituted a completely new leadership team for India and other parts of Asia.

Giving details of the investigation process, Cruz revealed that Louis Berger International entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice of the USA on violation of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by a few officers of the company. As per the agreement, the company agreed to pay 17.1 million dollars in penalty to resolve charges that it bribed officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kuwait to secure government construction management contracts. Two former officials of the company also pleaded guilty of the charges.

While entering into the agreement, the Department of Justice considered issues like the company�s act of self-reporting the misconduct and the company�s cooperation, including assurance to make employees including the foreign ones, available for interviews during the process of investigation.

It may be mentioned here that though the wrongdoings by some officials of Louis Berger were detected way back in 2012, the matter came to light in India only recently and it has been revealed that the company paid bribes to government functionaries in Goa and Assam to get contracts. The contract that the company got in Assam is consultancy of the Greater Guwahati Water Supply Project, being implemented by the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority with funds from the Japan International Corporation.

It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has directed Additional Chief Secretary SC Das to probe the incident and announced that the matter would be referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation if any prima facie evidence of wrongdoing is found.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Louis Berger admits paying bribes

GUWAHATI, July 21 - Officials of American company Louis Berger paid substantial amounts as bribe to government functionaries in four countries including India during 1998-2010, and the United States Department of Justice is investigating all the dealings of the company during the period. In fact, the details of payment of bribes by officers of the company came to light way back in 2012 and the matter was reported in India only recently, which caused ripples in different parts of the country, including Assam.

The company officials paid bribes to government officials in India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait amounting to 3.9 million dollars to secure government contracts. To conceal the payments, the conspirators made the payments in the guise of �commitment fees� and other payments to third party vendors. In reality, the payments were intended to bribe officials who awarded contracts to the company.

In an e-mail reply to questions by The Assam Tribune, Regine de la Cruz, a spokesperson for Louis Berger said that all the projects of the company during the period (1998 to 2010) are being investigated by the United States Department of Justice. The spokesperson said that after the malpractices in India and other parts of Asia came to light, two senior officials involved in such dealings � James McClung and Richard Hirsch, were �separated� from the company in the first half of 2012. The company also launched a corporate reforms programme and instituted a completely new leadership team for India and other parts of Asia.

Giving details of the investigation process, Cruz revealed that Louis Berger International entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice of the USA on violation of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by a few officers of the company. As per the agreement, the company agreed to pay 17.1 million dollars in penalty to resolve charges that it bribed officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kuwait to secure government construction management contracts. Two former officials of the company also pleaded guilty of the charges.

While entering into the agreement, the Department of Justice considered issues like the company�s act of self-reporting the misconduct and the company�s cooperation, including assurance to make employees including the foreign ones, available for interviews during the process of investigation.

It may be mentioned here that though the wrongdoings by some officials of Louis Berger were detected way back in 2012, the matter came to light in India only recently and it has been revealed that the company paid bribes to government functionaries in Goa and Assam to get contracts. The contract that the company got in Assam is consultancy of the Greater Guwahati Water Supply Project, being implemented by the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority with funds from the Japan International Corporation.

It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has directed Additional Chief Secretary SC Das to probe the incident and announced that the matter would be referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation if any prima facie evidence of wrongdoing is found.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)