New Jersey-based company Louis Berger International admits to bribing officials in India

By |

Two former executives pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

AB Wire

NEW YORK: Louis Berger International Inc. (LBI), a New Jersey-based construction management company admitted to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and agreed to pay a $17.1 million criminal penalty to resolve charges that it bribed foreign officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kuwait to secure government construction management contracts.

Two of the company’s former executives also pleaded guilty to conspiracy and FCPA charges in connection with the scheme, according to the Justice Department.

LBI entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and admitted its criminal conduct, including its conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.  Pursuant to the DPA, LBI has agreed to pay a $17.1 million criminal penalty, 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, 2015.

According to admissions in the DPA and statements in 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 LBI or who supervised LBI’s work on contracts.

It was not immediately known who or the companies involved were in the bribing for contracts in India.