by Michael Connor

Italian oil services company ENI, S.p.A. and its former Dutch subsidiary Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V. agreed to pay a total of $365 million in penalties to settle criminal and civil charges brought by U.S. enforcement agencies for their participation in a bribery scheme that included deliveries of cash-filled briefcases and vehicles to Nigerian government officials to win construction contracts.

BribeThe settlement is the latest related to a four-company joint venture that was awarded four contracts totaling $6 billion between 1995 and 2004 to build liquid natural gas facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria.

Only two weeks ago, another member of the joint venture, French engineering firm Technip S.A.,  agreed to pay a total of $338 million to settle similar U.S. criminal and civil charges.

In 2009, Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. and its former parent, Halliburton, agreed to pay a total of $579 million to settle criminal and regulatory charges stemming from the Bonny Island case.  KBR also was required to retain an independent compliance monitor for a three-year period to review the design and implementation of its compliance program

KBR’s former CEO, Albert “Jack” Stanley, pleaded guilty in September 2008 to conspiring to violate the FCPA for his participation in the bribery scheme. He is awaiting sentencing.

The U.S. Justice Department said a total of $1.28 billion in penalties has been obtained to date in connection with the Bonny Island bribery scheme.

The charges in each of the cases involve violations of the U.SA. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.   ENI and Snamprogetti will pay $240 million to settle the criminal charges and give up $125 million in profits to settle the civil charges.

Under the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement, the Justice Department said, it agreed to defer prosecution of Snamprogetti for two years. Snamprogetti, its current parent company, Saipem S.p.A., and its former parent company, ENI S.p.A. (ENI), agreed to ensure that their compliance programs satisfied certain standards and to cooperate with the department in ongoing investigations. If Snamprogetti and its current and former parent companies abide by the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement, the department will dismiss the criminal information when the term of the agreement expires.

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