Oilfield services giant Petrofac said Friday it had struck a plea agreement with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to its investigation into the company’s historical use of agents in the Middle East.
Following requisition by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Petrofac attended Westminster Magistrates’ Court where the company was charged with seven separate offenses of failing to prevent bribery between 2011 and 2017.
Under the plea agreement, Petrofac indicated guilty pleas to seven counts of failing to prevent former Petrofac group employees from offering or making payments to agents in relation to projects awarded between 2012 and 2015 in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
“These offers or payments were made between 2011 and 2017. All employees involved in the charges have left the business,” Petrofac said.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place at Southwark Crown Court starting on Monday, September 27, 2021.
“The company will make a further announcement following sentencing or any adjournment,” Petrofac said.
“The penalty will be determined at the sole discretion of the Court. It may take into account submissions by the company as to its ability to pay, along with the SFO’s recognition that Petrofac is a changed company with transformed leadership, personnel, compliance and assurance processes,” Petrofac said.
Shadow of the past
Petrofac Chairman René Medori said: “This was a deeply regrettable period of Petrofac’s history. We are committed to ensuring it will never happen again. We have fundamentally overhauled our compliance regime, as well as the people, and the culture that supports it. Our comprehensive program of corporate renewal has been acknowledged by the SFO. Petrofac has been living under the shadow of the past, but today it is a profoundly different business, in which stakeholders can be assured of our commitment to the highest standards of business ethics, wherever we operate.”
Petrofac CEO Sami Iskander said: “With my new management team we are rebuilding the company into a new Petrofac that’s relevant for the future, across both traditional and new energies, built on a foundation of the highest ethical standards.”
Earlier this year, former senior Petrofac Ltd executive David Lufkin pleaded guilty to three further bribery offenses in relation to oil deals in United Arab Emirates (UAE). These charges were in addition to 11 charges of bribery already brought by the SFO, to which Lufkin pleaded guilty in February 2019.
The SFO said that the offenses related to corrupt offers and payments made to agents by Lufkin between 2012 and 2018 to influence the award of contracts to Petrofac in the United Arab Emirates worth approximately $3.3 billion.
“Total payments of approximately $30 million were made, or were due to be made, by Petrofac to those agents in connection with these contracts,” the SFO said.
Abu Dhabi-based oil and gas giant ADNOC in March suspended Petrofac from competing for new ADNOC contracts “until further notice,” over a bribery case related to contracts awarded in 2013 and 2014.