WASHINGTON — Halliburton and Kellogg, Brown & Root have agreed to pay $579 million in fines related to allegations of foreign bribery, the biggest fines ever paid by U.S. companies in a foreign corruption case, federal authorities and the companies said Wednesday.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice alleged that Houston-based Halliburton and KBR were part of a joint venture that spent $182 million to bribe Nigerian government officials over a 10-year period to win more than $6 billion in construction contracts.
Halliburton, which owned KBR during the alleged actions and spun it off in April 2007, will be responsible for paying all but $20 million of the penalty.
KBR, one of the top U.S. government contractors, pleaded guilty to violating the federal law banning companies from paying bribes to get business in foreign countries. Halliburton did not admit or deny wrongdoing.
Authorities alleged that the companies used agents in Tokyo and Gibraltar to funnel money to Nigerian officials.