home Business, Politics The Louis Berger scam: Top US officials were involved in bribing Indian Govt.

The Louis Berger scam: Top US officials were involved in bribing Indian Govt.

Louis Berger is a full-service engineering, architecture, planning, environmental, program and construction management firm based in Morristown, New Jersey. The company usually undertakes high value infrastructure development contracts administered by the government of various countries.

However, lately the company has been in news for all wrong reasons. In July 2015, Louis Berger officials admitted in a US court that they have bribed top officials in several countries to win government projects.

James McClung, the former Senior Vice President of Louis Berger, admitted bribing Indian government officials in 2010 to secure several water developmental project contracts. The amount goes up to a shocking number of $976,630 (about Rs 6.5 crore). The bribe was paid to an unidentified minister who held the office 2010.

Interestingly in 2013, a CAG report revealed several flaws in the execution of the project through which the departments came to know about this scam. Henceforth, the Goa CM Laxmikant Parsekar immediately ordered the state crime branch to look into the case and prepare reports. The Goan government is now tracing back the flow of money and making several arrests.

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On July 27th, Anand M Wachasundar, project director of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), was arrested for allegedly fixing deals between Louis Berger and two ministers in the previous Congress government. Other arrests includes, Satyakam Mohanty, Churchill Alemao and Raychand Soni.

In the latest series of development, the Crime Branch charged Digambar Kamat, Former Goa Chief Minister, with disappearance of evidence for the Louis Berger case. Kamat is already booked under IPC section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and sections 7, 8, 9 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

And the search is still on to find all the evidence and the people involved.

On the other hand, the company was involved in multiple bribing scams in several other countries including Vietnam, Indonesia, and Kuwait.

To this, a settlement agreement between the company with the US Department of Justice was announced in July 2015, in which the company admitted criminal responsibility and agreed to pay a penalty of $17.1 million.

Sources: Indian Express, India Today