Australia: Australian former executive charged with bribery offences over African plot

A former senior executive of infrastructure giant Leighton Holdings has been charged with conspiring to pay up to $4 million in bribes to high-ranking Tanzanian officials to win an $84 million contract for the Australian company.

The charges against the former managing director of Leighton Offshore Russell Waugh come after the businessman was charged in November over separate allegations that he masterminded a bribery plot on behalf of Leighton in Iraq.

The latest charges are the result of the Australian Federal Police’s longest-running and most important corporate bribery probe and which, since 2011, has been targeting Leighton’s offshore business and its suspected payment of multimillion-dollar bribes in the Middle East and Africa.

Official sources also confirmed that Leighton, which is now called CIMIC and remains responsible for some of Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects, is bracing to pay massive fines in the United States.

The US Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission has been probing Leighton alongside the federal police and has built a case that the Australian company breached American anti-corruption laws by paying suspected bribes to win large overseas contracts between 2009 and 2012. Firms found responsible in the US for similar offending can pay fines worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

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