Did Sempra Pay Bribes in Mexico?

A former executive for Sempra in Baja, California has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit claiming that he was fired for asking too many questions about possible bribes paid and business practices in Mexico.

Rodolfo Michelon was terminated in March after five years on the job as a controller for Sempra Global in Mexico. He claims he was directed to bribe government officials and approve improper spending and to ignore his ethical obligations as a certified public accountant. In response Sempra officials claim that Michelon is simply a disgruntled ex-employee who is attempting to cash in with false claims and misrepresentations after being let go during a routine reorganization.

A spokesman for Sempra said that the board of directors have ordered an independent investigation and found the allegations of Michelon’s suit to be without merit. However Sempra did not volunteer to release the information gathered during the investigation.
Michelon’s lawsuit is the second one filed in the past four months that accuse Sempra of paying bribes to Mexican officials, bringing armed guards into Mexico to protect executives and being dishonest about its business activities.

Many of the allegation s in Michelon’s lawsuit and the other lawsuit recently filed center around a liquefied natural gas plant that was built north of Ensenada. According to the complaint Sempra ordered Michelon to supervise a cash payment to Mexican officials in order to smooth the way for an eviction that removed a man from the 670 adjacent acres to the plant site.

Michelon claims that when he questioned that transaction and some others he was fired, in the meantime the man who was evicted from his land has been awarded the right to the property.