Petrofac to pay £77 million for failing to prevent Middle East bribery

On October 4, 2021, Petrofac Limited, an oil and gas services provider headquartered in London, was ordered to pay a fine of over £47,197,640, confiscation of £22,836,985, along with the £7 million in costs incurred by the UK Serious Fraud Office, after pleading guilty to seven counts of failure to prevent bribery. 

As stated by the Serious Fraud Office, between 2011 and 2017, executives in the Petrofac group of subsidiaries developed an elaborate scheme to pay £32 million in bribes to officials in order to secure Middle Eastern oil services contracts worth £2.6 billion.  The executives used agents to pay the bribes, which were disguised in contracts for fictitious services and payments to sub-contractors, extending through multiple agents across international borders.  Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office, called the executives’ actions “without conscience,” saying that they acted deliberately in the pursuit of greed, and that the company’s failure to prevent this conduct affected the competitive oil and gas market as a whole, and damaged the reputation of the United Kingdom.

Peter Lufkin, former head of sales at Petrofac, was sentenced to a two-year custodial sentence.  In 2019 and 2021, Lufkin pleaded guilty to 14 counts of bribery.  According to the Serious Fraud Office, he cooperated and assisted in the investigation, which is ongoing. 

SFO case update 

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