Norway indicts Yara officials for bribing Indian bureaucrat

Norway indicts Yara officials for bribing Indian bureaucrat

Norwegian police has indicted three former senior management executives of fertiliser firm Yara International for paying bribe to a senior Indian bureaucrat in the Fertiliser Ministry.

Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (ØKOKRIM) did not identify the official in the statement on its website.

However, reports from Oslo said the family of a financial adviser in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers was allegedly paid the bribe.

The indictment comes two days after ØKOKRIM imposed a hefty fine of about USD 48 million on Yara for bribing a senior Indian government official and entities in Libya and Russia.

Yara International ASA, where Norwegian government holds about 36 per cent stake, had acknowledged the "guilt" and accepted the penalty but termed it as "severe".

"ØKOKRIM has indicted four people in Yara International ASA's former senior management of gross corruption. The conditions for the use of bribery against a minister in Libya and a senior public servant in India," the statement said.

Stating that charges concern two cases of gross corruption involving agreements on bribes for more than USD 8 million, ØKOKRIM said: "Four people are accused of corruption relationship in Libya, and three of them also for corruption relationship in India."

These individuals were, when corruption took place, in the senior management of Yara, it added.

The matter is related to 2006-07 when Yara was negotiating with Kribhco for setting up a joint venture project.

In April 2011, Yara International appointed the law firm Wiersholm to conduct an external investigation in this matter. In June 2012, Yara released the main findings of investigation which said that "an unacceptable payment of USD 1 million in 2007 to a consultant in India is documented, related to negotiations with Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd (Kribhco)".

Yesterday, Kribhco Vice Chairman Chander Pal Singh said that officials of the co-operatives were not involved in any wrongdoing with Yara.

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