March 14, 2021

Global oil and gas company confirms that PNF investigation into bribery allegations continues

In a March 5, 2021 securities filing, TechnipFMC plc, a global oil and gas company, confirmed that France’s Parquet National Financier (PNF) is continuing to investigate historical TechnipFMC projects related to Equatorial Guinea and Ghana.  TechnipFMC disclosed that it had reserved $70 million for a potential settlement with the PNF.  

According to TechnipFMC’s 10-K, in March 2016, FMC Technologies (prior to its merger with Technip S.A. in 2017) received an inquiry from the US Department of Justice related to potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection with Unaoil S.A.M.’s previous work for FMC Technologies.  The US Securities and Exchange Commission also opened an investigation into this conduct.  In addition, in late March 2016, Technip S.A. received an inquiry from the DOJ related to Unaoil.  Then in late 2016, Technip S.A. (again, prior to its merger with FMC Technologies) was contacted by the DOJ regarding the DOJ’s investigation of work performed in Brazil by a joint venture in which Technip S.A. was a minority shareholder.  The DOJ also inquired about projects Technip S.A. subsidiaries had in Ghana and Equatorial Guinea.  TechnipFMC stated in its 10-K that the company cooperated with the DOJ and the SEC with respect to these investigations.  The company also “contacted and cooperated with” Brazilian authorities (Federal Prosecution Service (MPF), the Comptroller General of Brazil (CGU) and the Attorney General of Brazil (AGU)) and France’s PNF.  

In June of 2019, TechnipFMC agreed to pay a total of $301.3 million to the DOJ, SEC, MPF, and the CGU/AGU, and report on its anti-corruption program to Brazilian authorities for two years and US authorities for three years.  The PNF was not part of this settlement.  Specific to the Brazilian resolution, Technip’s subsidiaries in Brazil entered into leniency agreements with the MPF and the CGU/AGU that included an agreement to make certain improvements to their compliance programs in Brazil.   Specific to the US component of the resolution, Technip entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ, and a US subsidiary, Technip USA Inc., pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA for the conduct in Brazil.  The June 2019 settlement with respect to the SEC was technically an agreement in principle with the SEC staff, which, in September 2019, the SEC approved.  
TechnipFMC’s March 2021 10-K stated that although the company had reserved $70 million for a resolution with the PNF, the PNF’s investigation was ongoing, and, therefore, the ultimate settlement amount could exceed that figure.  TechnipFMC also stated it was possible that it would not reach a settlement with the PNF.  

Form 10-K