Germany-based engineering group Bilfinger announced Monday that its deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice has concluded.
In December 2013, Bilfinger agreed to a $32 million criminal penalty with the Department of Justice to resolve FCPA charges that, from late 2003 through June 2005, the company conspired with pipeline construction company Willbros and others to pay more than $6 million in bribes to government officials in Nigeria to obtain and retain contracts related to a pipeline project.
As part of the settlement, Bilfinger signed a three-year deferred prosecution agreement, in which it agreed to adopt new—or modify existing—internal controls, a compliance code, and policies and procedures designed, in part, to detect and deter FCPA violations. Bilfinger further agreed to an external compliance monitor, appointing Mark Livschitz, for a minimum term of 18 months. The monitor’s primary responsibility was to regularly review the efficacy of Bilfinger’s compliance program and report the results back to U.S. authorities.
In 2015, Livschitz concluded that Bilfinger’s compliance program was not up to par. At that time, Bilfinger was in the process of replacing most of its senior management team, with the appointment of CEO Tom Blades; CFO Klaus Patzak; General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary Olaf Schneider; and Chief Human Resources Officer Michael Bernhardt.
On Dec. 9, 2018, Bilfinger fulfilled its commitments under the DPA, and consequently it is expected that the Department of Justice will file a motion with the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas seeking the dismissal of the charges deferred by the agreement.
In a statement, Bilfinger said it is “pleased that the Department of Justice has recognized Bilfinger’s progress in strengthening its compliance, especially its anti-bribery and corruption capabilities over the past five years.”
With the conclusion of the DPA, “the monitor has now certified that Bilfinger’s compliance program fulfills the requirements under the DPA,” Bilfinger stated. That means the monitorship also comes to an end.
“We are delighted that the Department of Justice has recognized our intensive efforts and measures put in place since late 2015,” Blades said in a statement. “Bilfinger is a very different company today than it was when it entered into the DPA. Thanks to the unrelenting efforts of our employees, substantial investments in our compliance function and internal control systems, we are now able to manage our compliance responsibilities from a position of strength.”
“We have established a fundamental corporate culture making compliance an integral part of Bilfinger’s DNA,” said Bernhardt.
Schneider added, “We are committed to continuously enhancing our compliance system. Improving the effectiveness of our system further remains a top priority for Bilfinger.”
Compliance Week caught up with Schneider and Bernhardt last year, in which they discussed lessons learned from the FCPA case. Read the complete interview here.