TechnipFMC fined $300 mn over Brazil, Iraq bribes

Washington (AFP) –


Oil services firm TechnipFMC will pay upwards of $300 million to resolve allegations the company bribed Brazilian and Iraqi officials to win business, the company and US officials announced Tuesday.

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

The outcome shows Washington will pursue people and companies "who seek to win business through corrupt payments to foreign officials," US Attorney Richard Donoghue, the top federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

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.

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

"This conduct dating back over a decade ago, taken by former employees, does not reflect the core values of our company today," TechnipFMC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Pferdehirt said in a statement.

"We are committed to doing business the right way, and that means operating with integrity everywhere."

The company will report on its internal anticorruption program to Brazilian and US authorities for two and three years respectively -- but will not be required to retain an outside monitor to oversee its compliance, the company said.

- Commissions, corrupt intermediaries -

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

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, according to the Justice Department.

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, the department said.

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

In all, the company said it had reached settlements with Brazil's Federal Prosecution Service, Comptroller General and Attorney General, as well as the US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission.

The settlement with SEC staff is pending final approval by the five-member commission itself, the company said.

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.