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103 U.K. Firms Pay $207 Million To Settle Bid-Rigging

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U.K. corruption officials late last month levied fines totaling $207 million against 103 British construction firms for bid-rigging. The Office of Fair Trading had found the firms guilty in April 2008 of interfering with a total of 199 bids between 2000 and 2006. The average penalty was $2 million, or 1.14% of the group’s global sales. A unit of Kier Group plc, Sandy, received the largest fine: $28.6 million. Subsidiaries of London-based Balfour Beatty plc must pay $8.3 million, a sum that was reduced 50% because the firms cooperated in the corruption probe. About 86 of the firms had fines cut because they admitted their involvement in certain practices. However, construction trade groups criticized the penalties as heavy-handed and ill-timed, coming during a record market downtown in the U.K, according to published reports. Contractors have until late November to appeal the fines.

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