December 21, 2018

Paris court hands Total a nominal fine in Iran bribery case

The Criminal Court of Paris imposed a nominal fine of €500,000 against the French oil and gas company, Total S.A., based on findings that that the company improperly paid $30 million to intermediaries between 2000 and 2004 in order to secure a contract for oil development in the South Pars deposits in the Persian Gulf.  An investigation of the alleged bribery began in 2006, and focused on two contracts signed in 1995 and 1997 and the purported payment of $60 million in bribes to the son of the former president of Iran in the form of consulting contracts.  Prosecutors had requested the maximum fine in addition to €250 million in disgorgement, but the court declined, citing the unavailability of key witnesses and Total’s $398.2 million settlement of FCPA charges with US authorities in 2013 based on the same events.  The investigation represented the first coordinated action by French and US law enforcement authorities in a major foreign bribery case.

Total press statement | DOJ press release (May 2013)