Former VP of KBR Subsidiary Pleads Guilty to FCPA Violations

15 December 2010 Publication

On December 6,  2010, Wojciech J. Chodan, a former commercial Vice President and consultant to a UK subsidiary of Kellogg, Brown & Root Inc. (KBR) pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). According to the DOJ, Chodan was part of a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials in exchange for contracts worth $6 billion to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria.

Chodan, a United Kingdom citizen, was originally charged on February 17, 2009.  He was extradited from the U.K. to the U.S. on December 3, 2010. Sentencing has been scheduled for February 22, 2011. He faces a maximum of 60 months in prison on the conspiracy charge and, as part of his plea agreement, he has agreed to forfeit $726,885.

KBR, Technip S.A. (Technip), Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V. (Snamprogetti) and a Japanese engineering and construction company were part of a four-company joint venture called TSKJ. TSKJ was awarded a series of contracts by Nigeria LNG Ltd. between 1995 and 2004 to build LNG facilities on Bonny Island. Chodan admitted that from approximately 1994 through June 2004, he and his co-conspirators agreed to pay bribes to Nigerian government officials, including top-level executive branch officials, in order to obtain and retain the contracts. Chodan recommended and agreed to the joint venture's hiring of two agents, Jeffrey Tesler and a Japanese trading company, to pay the bribes. During the course of the bribery scheme, the joint venture paid approximately $132 million to a Gibraltar corporation controlled by Tesler and more than $50 million to the Japanese trading company. Chodan and his co-conspirators met with successive holders of a top-level office in the executive branch of the Nigerian government to ask the office holders to designate a representative with whom TSKJ should negotiate the payment of bribes for the officials.

Related enforcement actions:

  • TSKJ joint venture partner KBR pleaded guilty in February 2009 to violating the FCPA.  For more information on this guilty plea, see our post here.
  • TSKJ joint venture partner Snamprogetti settled FCPA related charges in July 2010.  For more information, see our post here.
  • TSKJ joint venture partner Technip settled FCPA related charges in June 2010.
  • KBR's former CEO, Albert Stanley, pleaded guilty in September 2008 to conspiring to violate the FCPA and to mail and wire fraud. For more information, see our post here.
  • Jeffrey Tesler was indicted with Chodan in February 2009. Tesler is still awaiting extradition. For more information, see our post here.