Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited (Amec Foster Wheeler or the Company), a subsidiary of John Wood Group plc (Wood), a UK-based global engineering company, has agreed to pay $ 18,375,000 to resolve the criminal charges stemming from a scheme to pay bribes to Brazilian officials in exchange for a contract of around $ 190 million to design a gas-chemical complex.
According to court documents, Amec Foster Wheeler has entered into a three-year Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the United States Department of Justice, the Criminal Division, the Fraud Section and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District. of New York in connection with the filing of an information accusing the Company of conspiring to violate the anti-corruption provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
“Amec Foster Wheeler has now admitted to paying bribes in Brazil to land a lucrative contract,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “In pursuit of profits, the company has resorted to corruption, which distorts markets and undermines the rule of law. Today’s resolution, including the financial penalty and the agreement to improve compliance, underscores the Department of Justice’s commitment to hold businesses accountable when they break the law and to eliminate criminal misconduct.
“Amec Foster Wheeler conspired to bribe officials in Brazil as part of a corrupt ploy to secure a $ 190 million government contract and generate millions of dollars in profit,” said the Acting US Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis for the Eastern District of New York. “The Defendant’s lengthy DPA and his agreement to pay a fine of over $ 18 million demonstrates this office’s commitment to enforcing the anti-corruption provisions of the FCPA and holding companies like Amec Wheeler Foster responsible for its conduct. illegal and corporate greed. “
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the FBI’s dedication to working with our international partners in the global effort to hold accountable individuals and companies who believe corruption is the only way to do business,” said deputy director in charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI. Washington Field Office. “When companies like Amec Foster Wheeler try to cheat the system, it creates an uneven playing field for companies that don’t pay bribes. This deferred prosecution agreement, which includes both a substantial criminal penalty and other provisions, should serve as a warning to companies that even using a third-party intermediary to pay bribes will not prevent them from paying. be held responsible for international corruption.
According to the Company’s admissions in the DPA, between 2011 and 2014, Amec Foster Wheeler conspired with others, including an Italian sales agent affiliated with a Monaco-based middleman, to pay bribes to decision-makers in Petrobras to win approximately $ 190 million contract from Petrobras to design a gas-chemical complex in Brazil called Complexo Gás-Químico UFN-IV. The Company, through some of its employees and agents, took steps to move the program forward while located in New York and Texas, and made at least $ 12.9 million in profits. thanks to the business obtained by corruption.
As part of the DPA, for a period of three years, Amec Foster Wheeler has agreed to continue to cooperate with the US government in any ongoing or future criminal investigation involving Amec Foster Wheeler or its officers, employees or agents. Additionally, under the agreement, Amec Foster Wheeler and its parent company, Wood, agreed to improve their compliance programs and report to the government on the implementation of their enhanced compliance programs.
The government reached this resolution with Amec Foster Wheeler based on a number of factors, including the company’s failure to voluntarily and in a timely manner disclose the conduct that triggered the investigation; the nature and gravity of the offense, which lasted for several years and involved a high-level executive; and the merit of the Company’s cooperation. The Company has also taken corrective action, including dismissing a person involved in the misconduct and adopting enhanced anti-corruption controls and procedures. As a result, the criminal sanction reflects a 25% reduction in the fine applicable to the United States Sentencing Guidelines for the Company’s Full Cooperation and Remediation.
In related proceedings, the Company has received provisional court approval for a settlement with the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office and has entered into a settlement with the Ministério Público Federal (MPF), the Controladoria-Geral da União ( CGU) and Adogado-Geral da União (AGU) in Brazil. Under the DPA, the Fraud Section and the Eastern District of New York will credit up to 25% ($ 4,593,750) of the criminal penalty owed in the United States to payments made by the Company in accordance with the resolution with the Serious Fraud Office of the United Kingdom, and up to 33% ($ 6,125,000) of the criminal penalty due in the United States for payments made by the Company in accordance with the resolution with the Brazilian authorities.
In a related civil case with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a subsidiary of Wood agreed to pay the SEC disgorgement and prejudgment interest totaling approximately $ 22.7 million for the conduct in Brazil .
The FBI Washington field office is investigating the case. The Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom and the MPF, CGU and AGU in Brazil have provided considerable assistance.
Deputy Chief Gerald M. Moody Jr. and trial attorney Dennis Kihm of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Deputy U.S. Attorney Julia Nestor of the Eastern District of New York are continuing the case.
The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all matters relating to the FCPA. Additional information on the Department of Justice’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/foreign-corrupt-practices-act.