Fluor Corp. Settles Lawsuits With Engineer

Times Staff Writer

The Fluor Corp. recently settled three civil lawsuits that the Irvine engineering and construction company had filed against a former contracts engineer who allegedly accepted bribes and kickbacks from contractors in Saudi Arabia. Terms of the settlement were not revealed.

Thomas A. Belt, of Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., still faces criminal charges for allegedly accepting $1.4 million in bribes from foreign companies seeking work on a giant Saudi Arabian petrochemical project for which Fluor was the prime contractor.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles last month on two counts of wire fraud. If convicted, Belt faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $2,000 in fines.

Irvine-based Fluor had filed multimillion-dollar civil suits against Belt in Los Angeles, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The company claimed that Belt had purchased large tracts of land in Florida with the money he allegedly accepted for granting subcontracts on the Saudi Arabian project.

On Friday, a Fluor spokesman confirmed that a settlement with Belt had been reached but said the terms were confidential.

About two weeks ago, Fluor filed papers in federal court in Los Angeles asking the court to dismiss its suits against Belt.

Belt plans to enter a plea to the wire fraud charges in a federal court in Florida within the next few weeks, according to Dan Marmalefsky, his Los Angeles attorney.

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