ABB guilty of bribery

The US and UK arms of ABB subsidiary ABB Vetco Gray have pleaded guilty to two counts of bribery in violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

ABB Vetco Gray Incorporated is a US company based in Houston, TX, and is the headquarters for Vetco Gray’s Western Hemisphere operations. ABB Vetco Gray UK is based in Aberdeen, Scotland and is headquarters for Vetco Gray’s Eastern Hemisphere operations.

The US Department of Justice charged the two companies with paying bribes to officials of NAPIMS, a Nigerian government agency that evaluates and approves potential bidders for contract work on oil exploration projects in Nigeria, including bidders seeking subcontracts with foreign oil and gas companies.

The DOJ said that the companies paid more than $1 million in exchange for obtaining confidential bid information and favourable recommendations from Nigerian government agencies in connection with seven oil and gas construction contracts in Nigeria from which the companies expected to realise profits of almost $12 million.

‘Companies that think they can bribe their way into overseas contracts are sadly mistaken,’ said US Assistant Attorney General Wray.

‘Businesses that attempt to manipulate the free market by paying off foreign officials will face serious consequences for dishonest and illegal activity,’ he added.

Each company agreed to pay a fine of $5.25 million.

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