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Julie DiMauro Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn Contributing Editor

Bill Waite Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah Contributing Editor

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Richard Bistrong Contributing Editor 

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FCPA Blog Daily News

Entries in Bolivia (9)

Tuesday
Mar012016

Olympus pays DOJ $22.8 million to resolve Latin America FCPA offenses

Olympus Corporation of the Americas said Tuesday settled two separate investigations, including one involving Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses.

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Wednesday
Aug122015

Latin America Enforcement Report – August 2015

Here are highlights about Latin American corruption, enforcement, and compliance through July 2015.

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Wednesday
Jul292015

Latin America Enforcement Report – July 2015

Here are highlights about Latin American corruption, enforcement, and compliance through June 2015.

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Wednesday
Jun102015

Latin America Enforcement Report – June  2015

Here are highlights from Latin America in connection with corruption, enforcement, and compliance through May 2015.

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Thursday
Mar132014

Bolivia anti-graft chief convicted in Miami of extortion

A federal jury found Bolivia’s anti-corruption chief guilty of traveling to Miami to extort $30,000 from a wealthy Bolivian businessman who was facing trumped-up charges back home.

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Thursday
Mar072013

SEC asks Tesco about FCPA, use of agents

Oil and gas services firm Tesco Corporation said this week the SEC asked it to 'preserve and retain' documents related to FCPA compliance and its use of commercial agents in an undisclosed country.

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Thursday
Apr192012

Willbros Wins Final Dismissal

Willbros Group, Inc. said in an SEC filing that the FCPA charges against it were formally dismissed this month.

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Wednesday
May142008

Willbros Resolves FCPA Offenses

Willbros Group Inc. has confirmed that it will pay $32.3 million and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement to settle civil and criminal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act charges with the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As first detailed in Willbros third quarter 2007 earnings release reported on October 31, 2007 here, the FCPA violations involved former operations in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nigeria. The company will pay $22 million to settle the DOJ's criminal case and $10.3 million relating to the SEC's civil enforcement action. Its three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ requires appointment of a compliance monitor, the first announcement of such an appointment in an FCPA case in nearly three months. (The White Collar Crime Prof Blog has an interesting discussion here about the deferred prosecution agreement and selection of the monitor.)

The DOJ's twelve-count information included substantive violations of the FCPA's antibribery provisions and violations of the books and records provisions. All twelve counts relate to operations in Nigeria, Ecuador and Bolivia during the period from 1996 to 2005. The SEC's complaint alleged civil violations of the antifraud provisions of the Securities Exchange Act, the antibribery provisions, and the reporting, books and records and internal controls provisions.

Willbros is headquartered in Panama City, Panama and has its administrative offices in Houston, Texas. It provides construction and engineering services to industry and government entities worldwide, specializing in pipelines and associated facilities in onshore, coastal and offshore locations.

In November 2007, Willbros' former employee Jason Edward Steph, 37, entered into a plea agreement with the DOJ. He admitted violating the FCPA by conspiring to bribe officials of the government of Nigeria with more than $6 million. Steph is awaiting sentencing and faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Steph said that in February and March 2005, he, former Willbros executive Jim Bob Brown, and others arranged for payment of approximately $1.8 million in cash to government officials in Nigeria. Brown pleaded guilty to a similar charge on Sept. 14, 2006 and is also awaiting sentencing. Both he and Steph have been cooperating with the government’s investigation.

Also named in the SEC's complaint were Gerald Jansen, a former administrative supervisor in Nigeria; Lloyd Biggers, a former employee in Nigeria; and Carlos Galvez, a former accounting employee in Bolivia. The allegations included a scheme to pay $300,000 to officials of an Ecuadorean state-owned oil and gas company and to avoid paying taxes in Bolivia.

The DOJ said, "In recognition of Willbros' [and its subsidiary's] thorough review of the improper payments, the companies’ exemplary cooperation, the companies’ implementation of enhanced compliance policies and procedures, and the companies’ engagement of an independent corporate monitor, the Department has agreed to defer prosecution of these companies for three years. If Willbros Group and Willbros International abide by the terms of the agreement, the Department will dismiss the criminal information when the term of the agreement ends."

Willbros Group, Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WG.

View prior posts about Willbros here.

View the DOJ's May 14, 2008 news release here.

View the SEC's Litigation Release No. 20571 / May 14, 2008 in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Willbros Group, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 4:08-CV-01494 U.S.D.C./Southern District of Texas (Houston Division) here.

Thursday
Nov012007

Willbros Will Settle FCPA Charges For $32.3 million

Willbros Group, Inc.'s third quarter 2007 earnings release reported on October 31, 2007 that the company will pay $32.3 million to resolve U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act problems related to former operations in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nigeria. The company and a subsidiary will also enter into three-year deferred prosecution agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice. Willbros is headquartered in Panama City, Panama and has its administrative offices in Houston, Texas. It provides construction and engineering services to industry and government entities worldwide, specializing in pipelines and associated facilities in onshore, coastal and offshore locations.

On July 23, 2007, the DOJ announced the indictment in Houston of a former executive of a Willbros subsidiary. Jason Edward Steph, 37, an American living in Kazakhstan, was charged with conspiring to make over $6 million in bribe payments to Nigerian officials in order to obtain and retain gas pipeline construction business from a joint venture majority-owned and controlled by the Nigerian state oil company in violation of the FCPA. He was also charged with money laundering based upon the international transfer of some of the bribe money.

In its November 1, 2007 Form 10-Q, Willbros says the DOJ will file a twelve-count criminal information against it and its subsidiary, Willbros International, Inc., as part of the execution of the deferred prosecution agreements. "The twelve counts," it says, "include substantive violations of the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA, and violations of the FCPA’s books-and-records provisions. All twelve counts relate to operations in Nigeria, Ecuador and Bolivia during the period from1996 to 2005." Willbros also says it will consent to the filing in federal district court of a complaint by the SEC and to imposition of a permanent injunction. "The SEC's complaint, " according to the Form 10-Q, "will allege civil violations of the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act and the Securities Exchange Act, the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, and the reporting, books and records and internal controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act."

Willbros full statement in its earnings release about the FCPA is as follows:

"AGREEMENTS IN PRINCIPLE TO SETTLE DOJ/SEC MATTERS

"Willbros and its subsidiary, Willbros International, Inc. ("WII"), have reached an agreement in principle with representatives of the United States Department of Justice (the "DOJ"), subject to approval by the DOJ, to settle its previously disclosed investigation into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the "FCPA"). In addition, the Company has reached an agreement in principle with the staff of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") to resolve its previously disclosed investigation of possible violations of the FCPA and possible violations of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These investigations stem primarily from its former operations in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nigeria. As described more fully in the Company's third quarter 2007 10-Q filed with the SEC, if accepted by the DOJ and the SEC and approved by the court, the settlements together will require Willbros to pay over approximately three years, a total of $32.3 million in penalties and disgorgement. In addition, WGI and WII will, for a period of approximately three years, each be subject to Deferred Prosecution Agreements ("DPAs") with the DOJ. Finally, the Company will be subject to a permanent injunction barring future violations of certain provisions of the federal securities laws.

"As a result of the settlements in principle, Willbros has increased its reserves related to these investigations by $8.3 million, bringing the aggregate reserves for these matters to $32.3 million. The increase to the reserve is comprised of: (i) a $2 million reduction in the Company's 2007 second quarter estimate of $24 million in fines resulting from the DOJ actions that was recorded as a charge to continuing operations, and (ii) an additional charge to discontinued operations of $10.3 million of profit disgorgement, inclusive of accrued interest on the disgorgement profit, resulting for the SEC actions. The aggregate reserves reflect the Company's estimate of the expected probable loss with respect to these matters, assuming the settlements are finalized. If the settlements are not finalized, the amount reserved may not reflect eventual losses."

Willbros Group, Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WG.

View Willbros Third Quarter 2007 Earnings Press Release Here.

View Willbros Third Quarter 2007 Form 10-Q Here.