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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 09:54 GMT
US company admits Benin bribery
2001 Benin election rally
President Kerekou has not been accused of any wrongdoing
A US defence and telecommunications company has agreed to pay $28.5m after admitting bribery in the West African state of Benin.

The Titan corporation was accused of funnelling more than $2m into the 2001 re-election campaign of President Mathieu Kerekou.

At the time, Titan was trying to get a higher price for a telecommunications project in Benin.

There is no suggestion that Mr Kerekou was himself aware of any wrongdoing.

Titan, a California-based company, pleaded guilty to falsifying its accounts and violating US anti-bribery laws.

It agreed to pay $13m in criminal penalties, as well as $15.5m to settle a civil lawsuit brought by the US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


The SEC had accused Titan of illegally paying $2.1m to an unnamed agent in Benin claiming ties with President Kerekou.

Some of the money was used to pay for T-shirts with campaign slogans on them ahead of the 2001 election.

Shortly after the poll, which Mr Kerekou won, Benin officials agreed to quadruple Titan's management fee.

Prosecuting attorney Carol Lam said: "All US companies should take note that attempting to bribe foreign officials is criminal conduct and will be appropriately prosecuted."

The company says it no longer tolerates such practices.

Under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, it is a crime for American firms to bribe foreign officials.

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