Six Billion Dollar Bribe Gets Former KBR Executive 30 Months In Jail

Albert Stanley, a former KBR Inc. chief executive received 2 1/2 years in prison along with three years of probation and a $1,000 a month in restitution fees after release for bribing Nigerian government officials. The bribe was in exchange for  $6 billion dollars in engineering and construction contracts.

Stanley pleaded guilty to the charges and spoke to U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison in court saying, “alcoholism played a role in compromising the traditional American values of hard work, honesty and integrity that he brought to his professional life.”

Based on the two-dozen people who spoke out in favor of Stanley’s commitment to volunteer work, Stanley’s involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous and mentoring program, Stanley’s attorney asked the judge to suspend a prison sentence.

Stanley’s sentence is already lighter than his plea agreement had outlined, A federal presentencing report suggested punishment of 3 1/2 years and he faced the possibility of seven years in prison for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Under the act 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. Stanley did work with the prosecution to help recover $1.7 Billion in fines and restitution. However, the judge was not persuaded by Stanley’s community service or participation in helping recover billions.

They settled on 2 ½ years. The court stating, “The court does take note of and salute the strides Mr. Stanley has made both to put things right in Nigeria and to redeem his own life, but the misconduct was serious, ongoing and deeply hurtful.”

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.

He also pleaded guilty to a separate count of conspiring to defraud KBR and other companies. Stanley improperly recieved kickbacks of $10.8 million from a consultant hired by KBR. Stanley has already repaid $9.25 million of that and the restitution ordered and intends to cover the remaining $1.55 million.

In December 2010, Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency charged current and former KBR and Halliburton executives in the bribery scheme. But the charges were dropped a few weeks later after Halliburton agreed to pay a $35 million settlement.

Should these companies be able to pay off their crimes? Do you think that Stanley’s punishment is severe enough?

 

http://www.law.com/jsp/law/international/LawArticleIntl.jsp?id=1202543496273&Former_KBR_Chief_Gets__Months_in_Prison_for_Role_in_Nigerian_Bribery_Scheme

3 comments

  1. I think that it is important for these companies to pay back the money they illegally obtained; however, I think that the payment must be accompanied by the harshest prison sentence given for the particular crime committed. Cases dealing with such massive sums of money need to be dealt with in a certain way so that abuses such as these do not occur again. If all the court is willing to do is give Stanley a slap on the wrist who is to say that he will actually change his bribing ways. The message that the court seems to be giving out is that as long as you are able to pay back some of the money that you dealt with illegally we will give you a lesser sentence. If you are a man like Stanley, who seems to have access to substantial sums of money, there is not much of a deterrent keeping you from committing this crime.

  2. For a crime that is based in economics, I think paying back illegally obtained money should be a major focus because while four years in prison may let the victim know they have won; losing over a billion dollars hardly feels like a victory. For this reason, I think lessening sentences as an incentive to get restitution is a worthwhile endeavor. On the other hand, people still need to pay for their crimes and a prison sentence sends a harsh reminder not to do it again. That being said, paying back over a billion dollars provides a harsh reminder as well.

    Resultantly, I think it just comes down to personal preference. Either way, justice is essentially served whether you lose six years or you lose over a billion dollars. Ideally, the system should strive for both because if you only seek jail time, the person has still lost a lot of money; but if you only seek money, the offender may think they can buy their way out of trouble in the future.

  3. I believe Stanley should be punished very severely (i.e. he should have to serve significant jail time in addition to paying restitution and punitive damages) so that a clear message is sent to the public that his behavior is illegal. Given the limitations of the D.O.J. to investigate and prosecute violations of the FCPA, the prosecutions it does bring must be aimed at the high profile violators, like KKR and Stanley, in order to deter corruption and bribery across the board. A similar theory of punishment that applies to I.R.S. tax evasion prosecutions applies to FCPA prosecutions. Given the inherent limitations of the system, in order to stop people in general from cheating on their taxes or bribing foreign officials, the prosecutions must be aimed at the visible violators like Al Capone, Wesley Snipes, Siemens, and Stanley.

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