Total SA Sets Aside $400 Million for FCPA Settlement

By on April 30, 2013

Total SA, a large French oil company, has decided to set aside almost $400 million in expectation of a settlement with the United States government over claims that the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with alleged bribes to Iranian government officials.

The government’s investigation is focused on a deal the company struck with consultants concerning oil fields in Iran, and whether this agreement lead to improper benefits for officials of the Iranian government, which would violate the FCPA, as well potentially running afoul of the company’s obligations in accounting.

U.S. agencies tried to settle the claims based on the FCPA, which prohibits companies the use of bribes or payments to officials in foreign countries to help secure business contracts or deals, in 2011, but the Total resisted.  Currently the company, and its CEO are also caught in the grips of an investigation from French officials into their dealing in Iran, and face scrutiny over their dealing in Libya from 2008-2011.