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Bribery as a business model in Nigeria

  |   Nov. 8, 2010 at 9:09 AM
HOUSTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Bribery and fraud were considered part of the normal business model in oil-rich Nigeria, a freight trader said in documents settling a U.S. probe.

Swiss freight company Panalpina World Transport Holding Ltd. joined Shell and others in settling accusations of fraud in Nigeria. The Swiss company said dozens of its employees were involved in bribing foreign officials on a routine basis.

"Prior to 2007 a culture of corruption within Panalpina emanated from senior level management in Switzerland who tolerated bribery as business as usual," Bloomberg News quoted a filing by Panalpina as stating.

The company said Shell employees in Nigeria "specifically" asked for false invoices and other documents in an effort to cover evidence of bribery.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Shell generated about $14 million in profit as a result of its fraudulent activity in Nigeria.

Panalpina agreed to pay more than $80 million in cases related to bribery in seven different nations. Shell as part of the deal pays $48 million.

The U.S. Justice Department said it would hold off on prosecution for three years provided companies make appropriate reforms.

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