A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Oil drilling companies settle FCPA charges for $26M

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced Tuesday that the three oil drilling companies charged with violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act [materials; DOJ backgrounder] have agreed to a plea agreement settling the case for $26 million. The DOJ alleged that Vetco Gray UK Limited, Vetco Gray Controls Inc., and Vetco Gray Controls Limited paid Nigerian government officials $2.1 million in order to obtain expedited clearance through customs. According to a DOJ press release, the defendants authorized a major international freight forwarding and customs clearing company to make at least 378 payments, totaling approximately $2.1 million, to Nigerian Customs Service officials for preferential treatment. The plea agreement also requires the Vetco Gray affiliates to hire an independent watchdog to monitor FCPA compliance and to investigate operations in other countries.

The settlement marks the largest fine ever paid under the FCPA. In 2004, Vetco Gray UK Limited settled FCPA charges for bribing Nigerian officials for insider information on oil and gas contracts. AP has more. The Houston Chronicle has local coverage.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.