Tuesday, October 20, 2020

TechnipFMC fined $296 mn over Brazil, Iraq bribes

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Oil services firm TechnipFMC has agreed to pay a total of $296 million to resolve allegations the company bribed Brazilian and Iraqi officials, the US Justice Department announced Tuesday.

A former Technip consultant also pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the department said.

US Attorney Richard Donoghue, the top federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York, said the outcome showed Washington would pursue people and companies “who seek to win business through corrupt payments to foreign officials.”

The settlement — in which the London-headquartered company promised to apply “rigorous internal controls” and cooperate with a continuing investigation — marks the second time in less than a decade that a Technip company has paid hundreds of millions over foreign bribery.

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In 2010, a predecessor company, Technip SA, agreed to pay $240 million to resolve allegations of bribery in Nigeria.

Of the total amount, Technip will pay $214 million to Brazilian authorities, which brought a parallel case against the company.

Federal prosecutors say that, starting at least as early as 2003 and continuing until 2013, Technip and Singapore’s Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd paid more than $69 million in inflated “commissions” to a consultant who passed on portions as bribes to Brazilian government officials at the state oil company Petrobras.

In a related matter in 2017, Keppel Offshore had paid $422 million to authorities in the United States, Brazil and Singapore.

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TechnipFMC also used a Monaco-based intermediary company to pass bribes to at least seven officials in Iraq’s Ministry of Oil and two companies between 2008 and 2013, according to the Justice Department.

While TechnipFMC settled with US authorities, its US subsidiary Technip USA admitted a single count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

The Justice Department cited “significant assistance” in the investigation from governments in Australia, Brazil, France, Guernsey, Italy, Monaco and Britain.

A total of 43 countries have enacted laws criminalizing the payment of bribes to foreign officials to win business but the United States has long been the most active in punishing international corruption.

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