Panalpina to pay $81.9 million in settlement
Global freight forwarder Panalpina and five oil and gas service companies and subsidiaries agreed to resolve investigations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday.
The companies have agreed to pay $156.6 million in criminal penalties and disgorge about $80 million in profits, interest and penalties.
Panalpina said it would pay about $81.9 million in fines and disgorgement of profits.
In documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Basel, Switzerland-based Panalpina World Transport (Holding) Ltd. and its U.S.-based subsidiary, Panalpina Inc., admitted, through subsidiaries and affiliates, to engaging in a scheme to pay bribes to foreign officials on behalf of oil and gas industry customers. They did so in order to circumvent local rules and regulations relating to the import of goods and materials into numerous foreign jurisdictions.
Panalpina admitted that from 2002 to 2007 it paid thousands of bribes totaling at least $27 million to foreign officials in at least seven countries, including Angola, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Russia and Turkmenistan.
Panalpina customers, including Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary, Transocean Inc. and Tidewater Marine International Inc., admitted they approved of or condoned payment of bribes on their behalf in Nigeria and falsely recorded the bribe payments made on their behalf as legitimate business expenses in their corporate books, records and accounts.
Penalties under the settlement:
' Panalpina will pay a $70.6 million criminal penalty and disgorge $11.3 million in profits.
' Shell, $30 million criminal penalty and $18.1 million in profits and prejudgment interest.
' Transocean, $13.4 million criminal penalty and $7.2 million in profits and interest.
' Tidewater, $7.35 million criminal penalty and $8.3 million in profits and interest.
' Pride International Inc., a Houston-based corporation, and a French subsidiary will pay a $32.6 million penalty and $23.5 million in profits and interest after admitting paying about $800,000 in bribes directly and indirectly to government officials in Venezuela, India and Mexico.
' Noble Corp., a Swiss corporation, will pay a $2.6 million penalty and disgorge $5.5 million in profits and interest after admitting it had paid about $74,000 to a Nigerian freight forwarding agent.