More Indictments in KBR Bribery Scheme

British attorney taken into custody

March 6, 2009
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Indictments against two key players in a massive bribery scheme that resulted in Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) securing a $6 billion contract in Nigeria were unsealed Thursday in Federal District Court in Houston, Texas. The indictments are the first to be announced by the Justice Department since Albert "Jack" Stanley, the mastermind of $182 million in payments, pleaded guilty last September and agreed to cooperate with authorities.

One of those charged, Jeffrey Tesler, a British attorney, was taken into custody by the London Metropolitan Police at the request of the Department of Justice, which has asked for him to be extradited to the United States to stand trial. Tesler is identified in court documents and press reports as the agent used by Stanley to carry out the delivery of millions to Nigeria's late President Sani Abacha and other senior Nigerian officials.

Jeffrey Tesler in his London office, September 2008.

The other defendant is Wojciech Chodan, also known as William Chaudan. He worked as a salesman and consultant to KBR when Stanley was the CEO and the company was a subsidiary of the Halliburton Corporation. Like Tesler, Chodan's name has also been linked in the past to the scheme. A resident of Maidenhead, west of London, Chodan is believed to be still at large.

According to the unsealed indictment, Tesler and Chodan are charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and 10 counts of violating the FCPA, the 1970s'-era law that forbids paying anything of value to retain or obtain business overseas.

Included in the indictment are allegations that Telser, using a subcontractor, delivered a briefcase containing $1 million in cash to a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation official.

Both have been implicated for their alleged participation in a decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials to obtain engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts in the construction of the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas facility beginning in the 1990s.

Included in the indictment are allegations that Telser, using a subcontractor, delivered a pilot's briefcase containing $1 million worth of one-hundred dollar bills to a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation official.

Less than a year later, a vehicle containing $500,000 in Nigerian currency was left in the parking lot of a hotel in Abuja, Nigeria, for a government official to "remove."

If convicted on all charges, each defendant faces a maximum prison sentence of 55 years and the forfeiture of $130 million plus interest.

Related Story

KBR Hit With Record Bribery Fine
Former Halliburton subsidiary agrees to pay $579 million
Read more about the KBR case, the culmination of a five year multi-jurisdictional investigation that resulted in KBR paying a record fine of $579 million.

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REACTIONS


Sani Abacha - Atlanta, Ga
The Nigerian government is to corruption what the New York Yankees are to baseball. While the Americans have been brought before the law, the Nigerian officials involved have not even been identified. I would not be surprised if these officials are currently in top political positions. I hope that the Nigerian officials are named, not that anything will be done to them in Nigeria. The only way to solve Nigeria's problem is for a group of young soldiers to commit a coup and execute every single corrupt official, past and present. We know who they are. That's the only way.


Port Harcout, Nigeria
The names of the Nigerian officials should be made public and the fines that were imposed on these companies should be repatriated. Because the problem is not the foriegners who give bribes, but the Nigerian system that makes bribery an acceptable practice. Unless there is action taken against the corrupt Nigerian officials, progress will not be made. And there is no need for the cloak and dagger activities leaving money in a hotel. Nobody cares. They probaly had to bribe one or two policemen on the way to the hotel. If they took the money straight to the officials house at least then the delivery man could expect a token for his trouble.
If the corrupt officials could not take thier ill-gotten gains to Switzwerland and the Caymans, at least they would be forced to invest within the country. We do need help from the international community to expose corrupt officials and stop the flight of capital.

 

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