Weatherford to Pay $253 million to U.S. Govt. For Flouting Sanctions

Published By : 27 Nov 2013 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

Oil and gas service firm Weatherford International has been fined over $253 million to the U.S. government towards the settlement of various charges that include breaking government sanctions against Syria and Iran and offering junkets and free holidays to business partners and their relatives.

Weatherford was indicted for selling gas and oil equipment to Cuba, Sudan, Iran and Syria under various deals that violated sanctions. The company was also charged of exporting items and equipment restricted under the nuclear nonproliferation rules to the neighboring countries of Mexico and Venezuela. 

In the proceedings initiated against the company, three of its subsidiaries pleaded guilty of the alleged conduct. Weatherford also faced criminal charges that were filed by prosecutors as it had failed to bring into effect an internal compliance program. Prosecutors said that these charges would be either deferred or dropped if the company is able to prove that it had established controls regarding the same.

Charges against Weatherford were filed for a breach of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other export laws. In addition to criminal charges, Weatherford also faced civil charges that were filed by the U.S. SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), the Department of Treasury and the Department of Commerce. Weatherford is the smallest among the four leading oilfield service firms. 

The SEC has stated in its charges that misconduct by the company could be traced back to 2002, though the federal investigations have recorded the earliest case of misconduct by the company to 2007. According to the prosecution, certain misconduct allegedly took place just two years ago in 2011. 

According to the SEC, Weatherford officials were guilty of placing critical transaction documents in mislabeled folders and using code names to mask details of transactions with Iran. The SEC complaint also stated that the company bribed $250,000 to an Angolan executive to get a contract approved sometime between 2005 and 2006. This contract fetched profits to the tune of $11 million to the company.
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