Bribing government officials with cash-stuffed briefcases may seem like something out a movie script these days. But general counsel should take note: It can happen. And joint ventures can be particularly risky.

Paris-based Technip SA, a service company for the oil and gas industry, is paying $338 million in civil and criminal penalties to settle claims that it worked with KBR Inc., a former Halliburton Co. subsidiary, to bribe Nigerian officials and win $6 billion in contracts. Technip CEO Thierry Pilenko said in a statement: “The final agreement with the U.S. authorities … puts this legacy story behind us and enables us to focus on continuing to develop Technip’s business.”

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