U.S. Attorney’s Office Announces Agreement Securing Westinghouse’s Cooperation in the V.C. Summer Criminal Investigation and Payment of $21.25 Million for Low Income Ratepayer Relief
Columbia, South Carolina---- Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that his office has reached a $21.25 million cooperation agreement with Westinghouse Electric Company, amidst the ongoing investigation of criminal misconduct surrounding the failed construction of two new nuclear units at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant.
According to the agreement, Westinghouse agrees to cooperate fully and completely with the V.C. Summer criminal investigation until the conclusion of all related criminal prosecutions involving former Westinghouse officials. Federal charges are pending against former Westinghouse manager Carl Churchman and former Westinghouse Senior Vice President for New Plants and Major Projects Jeffrey A. Benjamin. Benjamin will be arraigned in federal court on August 31, 2021.
The agreement further specifies that Westinghouse will contribute an initial $5 million within 30 days to the South Carolina Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help certain ratepayers affected by the project’s failure. A final payment of $16.25 million would be paid by Westinghouse on or before July 1, 2022.
Westinghouse has produced more than three million pages of documents, data, and correspondences to federal investigators; made employee witnesses available for interviews; and provided extensive debriefing sessions on the process and facts developed during the course of the company’s internal investigations related to the project.
Following abandonment of the proposed new nuclear units, Westinghouse was acquired by Brookfield Business Partners. The company has since removed, reassigned, or re-trained Westinghouse senior management; elected new members to the Board of Directors; restructured and re-trained the company’s finance organization; established a global financial controls function; implemented new controls over financial reporting; revised and adopted a global ethics code; elected independent directors for its audit committee; established a corporate controller position; and implemented a new whistleblower program to provide employees with the ability to raise concerns without fear of retaliation.
In addition, Westinghouse – through its former parent company Toshiba – has satisfied $2.168 billion in settlement payments related to the V.C. Summer project, including $1.032 billion to SCANA, $976 million to Santee Cooper, and $160 million to pay various contractor liens.
“Our office continues to seek justice for the victims of the V.C. Summer Project failure,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DeHart. “Westinghouse’s cooperation is vital to our ongoing efforts to hold accountable the individuals most responsible for this debacle. More than $21 million in new low-income ratepayer relief is a strong sign of our commitment to assist those most affected.”
This agreement is the latest development in the ongoing multi-year joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Assistant United States Attorneys Winston Holliday, Brook Andrews, Emily Limehouse, and Jason Peavy are prosecuting the case, along with Special Assistant United States Attorney John O’Halloran.
The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office and Westinghouse have reached a similar cooperation agreement. South Carolina Deputy Attorney General Donald J. Zelenka, Senior Assistant Deputy S. Creighton Waters, and Assistant Attorney David Fernandez have been representing the State of South Carolina.