India can have names of Louis Berger bribe takers if it wants: US

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Jul 21, 2015 02:49 IST

The US department of justice will make available the names of the recipients of the Louis Berger bribes only if the government of India asked for them.

The department has not disclosed their identities and does not believe they will come out in the plea documents to be released by the trial court, or approved for release.

Louis Berger International agreed last week to a $17.3 million settlement with the department of justice for bribing officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kuwait.

In India, the company admitted to bribing at least one Goa minister and several officials of that state — together almost a million dollars — and Guwahati over 2009 and 2010.

The company had a project each in the two states, which, the settlement announcement by the department of justices said, were both won with the help of bribes.

But the officials were not identified in the announcement. And they don’t figure in the case documents — complaint and others — available in the records of the US justice system.

Berger refused to reveal the names when reached. “When the company uncovered the issues of impropriety by former managers, we handed our findings over to the US Department of Justice who finalised investigations into all of our company’s projects in India,” said spokesperson Regine DelaCruz.

“Under the terms of our deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), any information not already released in the DPA statement of facts must be released by the US Department of Justice.”

US department of justice said in response to a request for the names, “We are prohibited from releasing the identities of those not named in court documents.”

“We are still waiting for the plea documents to be filed by the court. Once they are filed, we will include them on this site as well.”But will those documents identify the bribe recipient? “Unlikely,” said the official.

When asked if the names will be made available to the Indian government if it sought them, the department said, “Yes, US and Indian law enforcement may share information on any given case through informal or formal mechanisms.”

Speculation continues in India about the number of officials who accepted bribes and their identity — especially the minister. Manohar Parrikar believes there were two.

Two senior Berger executives are named in the documents released so far, including Dubai-based James McClung, who was in charge of operations in India.

These names and bribes — in all $3.9 million — were discovered during an internal investigation by the company, as the spokesperson said, and reported to authorities.

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