September 27, 2021

SFO charges London-based oil and gas company with seven bribery offenses

On September 24, 2021, a Serious Fraud Office spokesperson announced that charges had been filed against London-based oil and gas company Petrofac Limited for seven separate offenses related to the company’s failure to prevent bribery between 2011 and 2017.  The charges come at the end of a four-year SFO investigation into suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering by Petrofac, its subsidiaries, officers, agents and employees.  After entering into a plea agreement with the SFO, Petrofac intended to enter a guilty plea at a plea and sentencing hearing that had been scheduled for September 27, 2021 in the Southwark Crown Court but was later adjourned until October 1, 2021.

Petrofac also released a statement on September 24, 2021 acknowledging their intention to plead guilty to seven counts related to the company’s failure to prevent a former group of employees from engaging in the offer or payment of bribes for projects awarded in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates between 2012 and 2015, in violation of Section 7 of the UK Bribery Act 2010.  Petrofac confirmed that all bribery-related offers and payments were made between 2011 and 2017 and that all employees involved the charges had left the business.  Petrofac’s Chairman and Group Chief Executive also released statements indicating that Petrofac is renewed company with a new management team that is committed to ensuring that these offenses will not happen again and has overhauled its compliance regime to form a comprehensive program that is “built on a foundation of the highest ethical standards.”

The charges against Petrofac come more than two years after the former Global Head of Sales for Petrofac International Limited, David Lufkin, pleaded guilty in February 2019 in Westminster Magistrates’ Court to eleven counts of bribery in violation of sections 1(1) and 1(2) of the Bribery Act 2010, for his efforts to obtain contracts in Iran worth $730 million and $3.5 billion worth of contracts in Saudi Arabia between 2012 and 2015.  Lufkin also pleaded guilty to three additional counts of bribery on January 14, 2021 for his efforts to obtain $3.3 billion in contracts in the United Arab Emirates between 2012 and 2018.  

SFO Statement| SFO Case Information – Petrofac Ltd. | Petrofac Statement