KPMG Accused in Saudi Bribery Case

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Auditing firm KPMG will possibly face criminal charges for their role in the bribery of government officials in Saudi Arabia by Dutch construction giant Ballast Nedam, according to a report published Monday in de Telegraaf newspaper.

Public prosecutors in the Netherlands suspect that KPMG has played an active role in helping Ballast Nedam win major construction projects by obscuring hundreds of millions of dollars that were paid as bribes to officials, the newspaper said. The investigation focuses on the use of false contracts and secret payments via Switzerland during the period from 1997 to 2004.

Ballast Nedam is the fourth biggest Dutch construction and engineering company and they have been involved in several mega projects in Saudi Arabia over the last 25 years, including building King Fahad Causeway that connects the country to Bahrain and the construction of military bases. Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a minority stake in Ballast Nedam.

Photo courtesy of Line Ørstavik via Flickr

Aramco Identifies Bribery Suspects

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Al-Watan has a story citing unnamed Saudi Aramco sources who said the company has identified a number of current and former employees believed to be suspect in the Tyco bribery case. The paper is also reporting, according to the same sources, that Aramco has asked Tyco in the US to provide them with the names of the employees who accepted the bribes.

Aramco to Investigate Tyco Bribery Case

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Saudi Aramco will seek the cooperation of Tyco in investigating the Swiss company admission that some Aramco employees have accepted bribes from Tyco to win contracts with the state-owned oil giant, al-Sharq reported Saturday.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed senior official in Aramco who said the company will ask Tyco to provide them with the names of Aramco employees who got involved in the bribery. He also said the company will run an internal probe and cooperate with the government anti-corruption bodies.

Local media reported that Aramco sent a statement saying they have stopped their dealings with Tyco and began an investigation in the bribery allegations. Tyco agreed Monday to pay more than $26 million to resolve US charges that it bribed officials of companies including Saudi Aramco to win contracts.

Company Pays $26 Million To Settle Saudi Bribery Charges

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Bloomberg:

Tyco International Ltd. agreed to pay more than $26 million to resolve US charges that it bribed officials of companies including Saudi Aramco to win contracts. Tyco Valves & Controls Middle East Inc., a subsidiary of Schaffhausen, Switzerland-based Tyco, agreed to pay $13.7 million as part of a guilty plea entered today before US District Judge Claude Hilton in Alexandria, Virginia, for conspiring to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the US Justice Department said in a statement. In a civil proceeding, Tyco, which makes and sells products related to security, fire protection and energy, agreed to pay $13.1 million under a final judgment with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the statement.

Fueled by large revenues due to the high oil prices, recent years witnessed huge government spending in Saudi Arabia. With the huge government spending, the potential for corruption to win government contracts increased exponentially. What we see here might be just the tip of the iceberg.