US firm paid $976,000 bribe to win Indian water project

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Washington, Jul 18: A New Jersey-based construction management firm has been charged with bribing Indian officials several crores of rupees to win two major water developmental projects in Goa and in Guwahati.

The bribery of USD 976,630 for a Goa project by Louis Berger included that to a minister, the details of which have not been disclosed by the Department of Justice. Yesterday, the company agreed to pay USD 17.1 million criminal fine to resolve charges that it bribed officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kuwait to secure government construction management contracts.

US paid bribe to win water project

Two of its former executives - Richard Hirsch (61) of Philippines, and James McClung (59) of the UAE - pleaded guilty to the bribery charges. McClung previously served as senior vice president responsible for the firm's operations in India and in Vietnam. Sentencing hearings for Hirsch and McClung are scheduled for November 5, 2015.

The Indian government, assisted by Japanese government, initiated the five-year Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project to expand, rehabilitate and build water and sewerage facilities. Louis Berger was part of a consortium for the project in Goa. The consortium included two Japanese firms and an Indian partner.

The team developed a project management information system and plan, evaluated bids, reviewed design and construction plans, and ensured quality work was done on time and within budget, the company says on its website. Federal prosecutors, in their 11-page chargesheet, alleged that Louis Berger maintained a detailed diary and account of bribery made to Indian officials.

PTI

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