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Louis Berger has admitted to bribing officials in India and 3 other countries to secure contracts

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Washington: Louis Berger International Inc. (LBI), a New Jersey-based construction management company, has admitted that it bribed officials in India and three other countries to secure government construction management contracts.

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But neither the company which last week agreed to pay a $17.1 million criminal penalty to resolve charges of bribing officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Kuwait, nor the Justice Department has disclosed the names of the bribe takers.

Two of the company’s former executives also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with the scheme.

Louis Berger has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and admitted its criminal conduct, including its conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA, according to the Justice Department.

The company has also agreed to implement rigorous internal controls, to continue to cooperate fully with the department and to retain a compliance monitor for at least three years.

Richard Hirsch, 61, of Makaati, Philippines, and James McClung, 59, of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one substantive count of violating the FCPA.

Hirsch previously served as the Senior Vice President responsible for the company’s operations in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

McClung previously served as the Senior Vice President responsible for the company’s operations in India and, subsequent to Hirsch, in Vietnam.

The sentencing hearings for Hirsch and McClung are scheduled for Nov 5.

According to the charging documents, from 1998 through 2010, the company and its employees, including Hirsch and McClung, orchestrated $3.9 million in bribe payments to foreign officials in various countries in order to secure government contracts.

To conceal the payments, the co-conspirators made payments under the guise of “commitment fees,” “counterpart per diems,” and other payments to third-party vendors.

In reality, the payments were intended to fund bribes to foreign officials who had awarded contracts to Louis Berger or who supervised the firm’s work on contracts.

A Louis Berger statement said “in total, the company self-identified and self-reported findings of misconduct in Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Kuwait between 1998 and 2010 totaling $3.9 million in bribes.”

(IANS)

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Khaleda Zia granted bail in 2008 corruption case

Khaleda is a two-time Bangladesh Prime Minister, having ruled from 1991-96 and again from 2001-06

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Khaleeda Zia granted 64 months bail. IANS

Bangladesh Nationalist Party Chairperson Khaleda Zia, convicted in a corruption case, was granted bail on Monday.

BNP leader Zia secured a four-month bail in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case in which she was handed five years of imprisonment by a Bangladesh court.

“Now, there is no legal bar to let Khaleda walk out of prison on bail,” Bangladesh Daily Star quoted BNP Advocate Sagir Hossain Leon as saying.

Earlier today, a bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim passed the bail order in response to a petition moved by Khaleda before a high court back in February.

Her bail was considered on four grounds, including her health condition.

Further, the high court directed the concerned authority to prepare the paper book of the case within the next four months for hearing the appeal she filed against her conviction in the case.

The high court sentenced Zia’s eldest son and Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s (BNP) Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman and four others for at least 10 years with a fine of 2.10 crore Bangladeshi takas (Tk).

The Anti-Corruption Commission had earlier filed a case in 2008 with Ramna Police Station, accusing six persons including Khaleda and her son Tarique.

Khaleda is a two-time Bangladesh Prime Minister, having ruled from 1991-96 and again from 2001-06.

In a political career spanning almost four decades, Khaleda went to the jail several times but was never convicted. She was detained several times during the anti-Ershad movement between the 1980s and 1990s.

In March 1983, she was made vice-chairperson of BNP after her husband and former Bangladesh President Ziaur was assassinated.

She went on to become the party’s chairperson in 1984, a position which she holds today. May 10, 1984.

Since the last three decades, Bangladeshi politics have been dominated by Zia and current Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.