Total in $398m Iran bribery settlement

Total corporate hq29 May 2013 – US securities regulators said on Wednesday that French oil major Total has agreed to pay $398 million to settle bribery charges tied to a decades-old Iranian oil deal.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had alleged that $60 million in bribes were paid to government officials in violation of the US Foriegn Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to help grease the wheels of an oil and gas transaction.

The company eventually reaped $150 million in profits afterwards, the SEC said.

The company was also charged on Wednesday by a Paris prosecutor for violations of French law, the SEC said.

“Total used illicit payments to win business in Iran, and reaped substantial financial benefits as a result,” Andrew Calamari, regional director for the SEC’s New York office.

“Total must now pay back all of its profits from the company’s corrupt conduct and additionally pay criminal penalties on top of that.”

Total did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Upstream on the matter.

At issue is a 1995 development contract with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for the country’s Sirri A and E oil and gas fields.

The SEC claims that Total set up a bogus “consulting agreement” with a government intermediary whose true purpose was to help tip the proceedings in its favour.
*Kathrine Schmidt, Upstreamonline  

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