Layne Christensen of Texas paying $5.1M to settle SEC charges of bribing African officials

WASHINGTON – Layne Christensen Co. has agreed to pay about $5.1 million to settle civil charges of bribing government officials in Africa in exchange for favourable tax treatment, customs clearance and other improper benefits.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Monday with the water management and construction company for the alleged misconduct from 2005 to 2010. Layne Christensen, based in The Woodlands, Texas, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing. The company agreed to report to the SEC on its progress toward improving compliance.

The SEC said Layne received about $3.9 million in improper benefits from the bribes, including some $3.2 million in tax savings. The bribes were paid to officials in Mali, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso and Tanzania, according to the agency.