Ex-Bechtel Executive Pleads Guilty To Fraud, Laundering In Egypt

A former Bechtel Corp. vice president pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with a $5.2 million kickback scheme to manipulate competitive bidding for power company contracts in Egypt.

Asem Elgawhary, 73, of Potomac, Maryland, admitted accepting the kickbacks from three power companies in exchange for giving them inside information on the bidding process for contracts with Egypt’s state-owned electricity company, the U.S. Justice Department said yesterday in a statement.

Elgawhary, who also pleaded guilty in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, to obstruction and interference with tax laws, was general manager of Power Generation Engineering and Services Co., or PGESCo., a joint venture between Bechtel and the state-run power company.

Elgawhary also was a principal vice president of San Francisco-based Bechtel. His scheme took place from 2003 to 2011 and included efforts to conceal the kickbacks by funneling them to Swiss and other off-shore bank accounts, according to papers filed in his case.

PGESCo. advised the state-controlled company on finding subcontractors and awarding contracts to perform power projects.

Elgawhary is scheduled to be sentenced on March 23. He faces a prison term of 42 months, according to his plea agreement, which isn’t binding on a judge.

The case is U.S. v. Elgawhary, 14-cr-00068, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (Greenbelt).

Source: Bloomberg