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Total to Pay $398 Million for Corrupt Practices
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French energy company Total is to pay $398 to settle charges brought against them by the Securities Exchange Commission and Department of Justice, two American organizations, and also faces fresh charges from France, as of today. They were charged for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or, more specifically, for bribing an Iranian official with $60 million to gain access to some of the best Iranian oil and gas fields for development. The SEC said that they earned an estimated $150 million from the gambit.

“Total attempted to cover up the true nature of the illegal payments by entering into sham consulting agreements with intermediaries of the Iranian official and mischaracterizing the bribes in its books and records as legitimate ‘business development expenses’ related to the consulting agreements,” said the SEC, as Breaking Energy reported.

  
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The bribery took place in the 1990s, and the US investigation was launched in 2003.

“Today we announce the first coordinated action by French and US law enforcement in a major foreign bribery case,” US Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said in an email, quoted by Bloomberg on Wednesday. “Our two countries are working more closely today than ever before to combat corporate corruption, and Total, which bought business through bribes, now faces the criminal consequences across two continents.”

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