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U.S. Firm Admits Paying Bribes In Russia, Central Asia

NEW YORK, April 28, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Baker Hughes, a U.S. oil-services company, has pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court to paying bribes to officials in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, RFE/RL reported.

The company issued its plea on April 26, agreeing to pay a record $44 million in fines to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Criminal charges were filed against the firm only in connection with bribes it paid to Kazakh officials between 1998 and 2003.

Civil charges were filed in relation to other bribes paid by the firm. The names of the Russian, Kazakh, and Uzbek officials who accepted the bribes were not divulged.