A former chief executive of construction giant KBR Inc. faced sentencing Thursday for a federal bribery conviction related to the company's natural gas operations in Nigeria from 1995 to 2004.
Albert "Jack" Stanley pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiring in the decadelong scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials in return for more than $6 billion in engineering and construction contracts.
Under his plea agreement, he faces the possibility of seven years in prison and $10.8 million in restitution for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The act says it is unlawful to bribe foreign government officials or company executives to obtain or retain business or to secure an advantage to getting the business.
Court files show his sentencing, first set for November 2008 before U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison, was reset at least 16 times. He's been free under $100,000 bail.
KBR, a worldwide engineering and construction services firm, was split off as a separate public company from Halliburton in 2007. It was formerly known as Kellogg, Brown & Root.
Stanley, 69, was chief executive of KBR until 2001 and chairman until June 2004. He also pleaded guilty to a separate count of conspiring to defraud KBR and other companies, admitting to improperly receiving $10.8 million from a consultant hired by KBR at his behest.
Stanley acknowledged in his plea that a four-company joint venture, including KBR and firms from France, Italy and Japan, paid about $182 million to consulting companies that then paid bribes to several Nigerian government officials.
Federal investigators focused on a contract for construction of a $4 billion liquefied natural gas plant on Nigeria's Bonny Island that was awarded to TSKJ, the Portugal-based, four-company consortium where Stanley was KBR's senior representative.
Three years ago, KBR agreed to pay $402 million in fines to settle federal criminal charges related to the case.
A second man involved in the bribery scheme, British lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, also was set to be sentenced Thursday. He was arrested in London in 2009, pleaded guilty in Houston a year ago to conspiring and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and has been free on $50,000 bail.
Sentencing guidelines outlined in Tesler's plea agreement called for 10 years in prison. Tesler, 63, a dual citizen of Britain and Israel, also agreed to forfeit nearly $149 million from accounts in 12 Swiss banks and four from Israel. Prosecutors said the money was traceable proceeds from the bribery.
On Wednesday, Wojciech Chodan received probation for involvement in the same bribery scheme. The British man was placed on unsupervised probation for a year and fined $20,000. Chodan, 74, pleaded guilty in December 2010. As part of the plea agreement, he admitted that he helped Houston-based KBR bribe the Nigerian government to obtain contracts for liquefied natural gas facilities.
In December 2010, Nigeria's anti-corruption agency charged current and former KBR and Halliburton executives _ including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who at one time led Halliburton _ in the bribery scheme. But the charges were dropped a few weeks later after Halliburton agreed to pay a $35 million settlement.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was passed in 1977. Its anti-bribery provisions were broadened in 1998 to apply to foreign firms and persons who directly or through agents allow corrupt payments to take place.