Baker Hughes Inc.’s bribery nightmare first became public in 2002, when a former employee filed a civil suit against the company in Texas. The worker claimed that he’d been fired from the global oil services giant because he refused to take part in bribing Nigerian officials to win business there. Baker Hughes immediately launched an internal investigation into his allegations. The inquiry lasted more than four years and uncovered evidence of bribes in six other countries, according to U.S. Department of Justice documents.
The corporation voluntarily reported the allegations to Justice in 2002, and continued to update the government on each bribe it found. This spring one Baker Hughes subsidiary pled guilty to three felony counts, while the parent company entered a two-year deferred prosecution agreement. The Houston-headquartered company also paid an $11 million criminal fine, a civil fine of $10 million, and $23 million in disgorgement of profits. Totaling $44 million, it is the largest combined penalty ever for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
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