UPDATE 1-Saipem settles Nigeria probe for $30 mln

Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:11pm GMT
 

* Saipem unit to pay $30 mln penalty plus legal costs

* Nigeria drops all charges against Saipem unit

* Eni to indemnify Saipem for cost of settlement

(Adds details, background)

MILAN, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Italian oil services group Saipem (SPMI.MI: Quote) said it would pay a penalty of $30 million to settle a Nigerian investigation into a bribery case involving the construction of gas facilities by an international consortium.

The deal with Nigerian authorities resolves a probe into the activities of Saipem unit Snamprogetti Netherlands, as part of the TSKJ consortium, in connection with contracts to build liquid natural gas facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria.

"The Federal Government of Nigeria agreed to dismiss all charges against Snamprogetti Netherlands and to renounce any civil claims and criminal charges in any jurisdiction," Saipem said in a statement.

The TSKJ consortium -- which included U.S. company KBR Inc (KBR.N: Quote) (KBR.N: Quote), France's Technip (TECF.PA: Quote) and Japan's JGC (1963.T: Quote) -- is being investigated in several countries over allegations it paid bribes to the Nigerian government between 1994 and 2004 to get contracts worth more than $6 billion to build liquefied natural gas facilities.

On top of the criminal charge, Saipem will also pay $2.5 million as reimbursement of legal costs and expenses.

Saipem said the charges would not impact its results because its controlling shareholder Eni (ENI.MI: Quote) had agreed to indemnify Saipem for the costs stemming from the inquiries when it sold Snamprogetti. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Hans Peters)

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