The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a powerful weapon to stop multinational corporations from attempting to win or retain business advantages overseas by making bribe payments to foreign government officials. Aimed at the problem of foreign bribery, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 makes significant financial rewards available to insider informants who blow the whistle on FCPA violations.
Layne Christensen Company Paid Bribes In Several African Countries To Reduce Tax Liability And Escape Penalties For Customs, Immigration And Labor Violations
A Texas company involved in global water management, construction and drilling has been charged by the SEC with FCPA violations for making improper payments to government officials in a number of African countries for the purpose of securing advantageous treatment and reducing tax liability.
Between 2005 and 2010, Layne Christensen Company allegedly engaged in the following misconduct:
- Layne paid nearly $800,000 in bribes to government officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Guinea and Mali to reduce its tax liability and to escape related penalties for late tax payments. The payoffs allowed Lane to secure more than $3.2 million in undeserved tax savings.
- In Guinea, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and the DRC, Layne made cash bribes in excess of $23,000 to immigration officials, police, border patrol and labor inspectors to ensure that its employees and equipment were able to cross the border. The money also persuaded officials to issue work permits for Layne’s expatriate employees and helped the company escape penalties for its failure to comply with local labor regulations and immigration laws.
- In DRC and Burkina Faso, Layne paid off customs officials to escape paying customs duties and to receive approval for importing and exporting its equipment. Layne made phony entries in its books, describing the bribes as commissions and legal fees.
Layne will settle the charges by paying more than $3.8 million in disgorgement, more than 850,000 in prejudgment interest and a penalty of $375,000. The settlement amount, which is more than $5 million in total, would have been greater had Layne not self-reported the wrongdoing and cooperated with the SEC’s FCPA investigation.
Whistleblowers Notify Government About FCPA Violations
While Waters & Kraus is not handling this particular FCPA case, we are representing whistleblowers in similar matters involving foreign bribery violations. If you have comparable claims against your employer or another business, email us or call our qui tam attorneys at 855.784.0268 to learn more about our practice and how we can collaborate with the government to redress illegal foreign bribery schemes. Our experienced lawyers, such as Loren Jacobson and Caitlyn Silhan in the firm’s office in Texas, where the company in this case is based, are working to level the playing field in international business operations.