Irvine-based Fluor Corp. filed a $40-million lawsuit Friday against a former contracts engineer, alleging that he received between $721,000 and $3 million in secret payments from subcontractors in Saudi Arabia during the three years he worked for Fluor.
The suit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, alleges that Thomas A. Belt, of Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., negotiated the sale of surplus Fluor equipment through a company created and controlled by Belt and his brother, who was not named in the suit.
A woman identifying herself as Belt's daughter said he was not at home late Friday.
According to the suit, Belt was employed as a principal contracts engineer by Fluor Arabia Ltd. from Oct. 31, 1980, to Dec. 22, 1983, when the company terminated him for breach of contract and fraud. Fluor Arabia is a subsidiary of Fluor, an engineering, construction and natural resources company.
Belt allegedly accepted bribes and kickbacks from subcontractors who wanted to work for Fluor in Saudi Arabia. The suit alleges that Belt's activities resulted in cost overruns of about $2 million for the Fluor Arabia subsidiary.
Fluor contends that Belt funneled the money through secret European bank accounts and used the funds to buy property in Florida.
In addition to the $40 million in damages, Fluor is seeking ownership of Belt's Florida land.