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For Louis Berger, mum's the word

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 July 2015 12:00 AM GMT

US Justice department too silent on identities of rogue ministers, officials

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, July 21: Louis Berger Intertiol Inc (LBI), the New Jersey-based construction magement company in the eye of a storm for paying kickbacks to bag a Guwahati water supply project, has refused to divulge mes of the politicians and officials who pocketed its bribes.

Not just Louis Berger, the US Justice Department too is maintaining a studied silence about the identities of the bribe-takers

"I would like to clarify something based on your question - those individuals who pled guilty in court (Richard Hirsch and James McClung) are former magers who were separated from the company in the first half of 2012 when the company uncovered evidence of impropriety by these magers. The company has had no association with them since that time," Regine de la Cruz of company's corporate communications wing told The Sentinel.

"When the company uncovered the issues of impropriety by these former magers, we handed our findings over to the US Department of Justice who filized investigations into all of our company's projects in India. The company has actively supported the US government in its investigation of the culpable individuals and their activities. Under the terms of our deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), any information not already released in the DPA statement of facts must be released by the US Department of Justice," the official added.

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

According to documents detailing the charges, the company and its employees, including Hirsch and McClung, orchestrated 3.9 million dollars in bribe payments to foreign officials in various countries from 1998 through 2010, 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 Vietm, Indonesia, India and Kuwait between 1998 and 2010 totaling $3.9 million in bribes." The company last week agreed to pay a 17.1 million dollars crimil pelty to resolve charges of bribing officials in these four countries.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice too has not responded to queries from this newspaper.

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