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Mobil Part of Probe of Alleged Bribes

April 4, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ Federal prosecutors said Friday they are looking at Mobil Oil Corp. as part of the investigation into bribes paid by Americans to secure lucrative oil contracts in Kazakhstan.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Neiman made the disclosure as New York businessman James Giffen pleaded innocent to conspiracy, money laundering and tax charges. He is accused of extending more than $78 million in bribes in the 1990s to two senior Kazakh officials.

``Mobil Oil is the subject of the government’s ongoing investigation in this case,″ Neiman told Judge William H. Pauley after the judge disclosed that he and his wife owned shares in Exxon Mobil Corp.

Mobil Oil and Exxon merged in 1999.Outside court, the prosecutor declined to elaborate.

Tom Cirigliano, a spokesman for Exxon Mobil of Irving, Texas, said the company has no knowledge of any illegal payments made to Kazakh officials by any current or former Mobil employees. He said the company had cooperated fully with the government probe.

On Wednesday, retired Mobil executive J. Bryan Williams was indicted on charges that he evaded taxes on a $2 million kickback he allegedly received for finalizing a 1996 deal between Mobil and Kazakhstan.

Williams’ lawyer, David Schertler, has said Williams acted properly in his work.

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