United States v. James McClung, 15-cr-00357-MLC (D.N.J. 2015)
Richard Hirsch, Louis Berger international, Inc.
According to the DOJ, between 1998 and 2010, Louis Berger engaged in multiple bribery schemes in Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and Kuwait. The DOJ also brought criminal charges against two Senior Vice Presidents of Louis Berger.
James McClung, a U.S. citizen residing in India, was Senior Vice President of Louis Berger International, Inc. Louis Berger International, Inc. is a New Jersey-based, privately-held consulting firm, that provides engineering, architecture, program, and construction management services.
According to court documents released by the DOJ, between 1998 and 2010, Louis Berger engaged in a scheme to pay bribes to foreign officials in Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and Kuwait to secure contracts with government agencies and instrumentalities in violation of the FCPA. On July 17, 2015, the DOJ settled its case against Louis Berger through a deferred prosecution agreement, pursuant to which, Louis Berger agreed to pay a criminal fine of $17.1 million. The DOJ brought criminal charges against McClung for his alleged involvement in the bribery schemes in India and Vietnam.
Court documents allege that Louis Berger utilized a “Foundation”, a non-governmental organization that Louis Berger established in Vietnam as the company’s local sponsor to provide local labor and operational support, to funnel bribes to Vietnamese officials. The funding of the alleged bribes was generated by “donations” from Louis Berger to the “Foundation” or was masked by invoices from the “Foundation” which Louis Berger paid from its bank accounts in the United States. Once the “Foundation” received the funding, the money was withdrawn from a joint account and allegedly paid to Vietnamese officials by Louis Berger employees.
The DOJ alleges that McClung discussed making bribes with Louis Berger employees by telephone and email using coded language, such as “field operation expenses.” In 2008, McClung allegedly approved of a $13,000 payment ultimately denoted as “logistics support and travel cost.” In 2010, an email from an unnamed Louis Berger employee suggests that McClung approved of a $200,000 payment to a Vietnamese official regarding several projects.
According to the DOJ, Louis Berger officials made illicit payments to Indian officials in exchange for two water development projects in Goa and Guwahati, India. The alleged bribes were disguised as payments to project vendors for services that were never actually rendered. The DOJ asserts that multiple consortium partners, alongside Louis Berger, were involved in the scheme to bribe Indian officials. McClung allegedly approved of and directed payments to officials for projects, including $976,630 in relation to a project in Goa.
On June 9, 2015, McClung pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one substantive count of violating the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions. In July 2016, McClung was sentenced to one year and a day in prison.