Thursday, November 28, 2013

Global Impact: Swiss Firm, Weatherford Int'l, to Pay More Than US$252 Million for FCPA Violation

According to Switerland's The Local, Swiss oil services firm, Weatherford International, is facing to pay more than US$252 million to settle charges of corruption and violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) sanctions against Iran, Cuba and other countries, US officials said on Tuesday (November 26).
Weatherford and its US subsidiaries falsified its accounts to hide bribes paid to win business in Africa and the Middle East and its violations of US sanctions and export controls.
Three subsidiaries of Weatherford agreed to plead guilty to anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and export controls violations under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the US Justice Department said in a statement.
According to the US Treasury Department, Weatherford exported $23 million in goods, technology and services to Iran from 2003 to 2007.
From 2005 to 2008, the company had extensive business with Cuba, totaling $69 million. And from 2005 to 2006, Weatherford did about $295,000 in business with Sudan.
The Treasury said that Weatherford, as part of a combined $100 million settlement with several federal government partners, had agreed to pay $91 million to settle the apparent violations, noting it was the largest-ever settlement outside of the banking industry for sanctions violations.
Weatherford will also pay a $87.2 million criminal penalty to the US  Justice Department and $65.6 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


COMMENT: The SEC noted the fine included a penalty for lack of cooperation earlier in the investigation.
The rest of the fines will be shared by the US Commerce Department and the US attorney general's office in Texas, where the company has substantial operations.

"Although Weatherford's extensive remediation and its efforts to improve its compliance functions are positive signs, the corrupt conduct of Weatherford International's subsidiaries allowed it to earn millions of dollars in illicit profits, for which it is now paying a significant price," said Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general of the US Justice Department's criminal division.
The Geneva-based multinational oilfield service company operates in more than 100 countries and employs over 55,000 people worldwide.