Thursday, March 24, 2011

US firm ‘bribed’ Customs panel judge, CBI steps in

It's taken quite a while but the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has now begun probing allegations of bribes paid by a US company to a judge of the Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal (CEGAT).
Officials of the company, Houston-based Pride International, one of the world’s largest offshore drilling firms, are alleged to have paid bribes to the tune of $500,000 for obtaining a favourable order from CEGAT way back in June 2003.
CEGAT’s ruling, according to indictments served on the company by the US Securities Exchange Commission in 2010, stated that the estimated gain to the company from securing a favourable decision from the Indian tribunal was “at least” $10 million.
While the indictment against Pride International and its French subsidiary, Pride Forasol (which dealt with the Indian region) was widely publicised and, in 2010, the US companies agreed to pay penalties of over $156 million for bribing government officials in India, Venezuela and Mexico, Indian agencies have only now begun looking into the charges.

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