French court docket fines oil group Whole in Iran bribery case

PARIS (Reuters) – A Paris court docket fined French oil and fuel group Whole (TOTF.PA) 500,000 euros ($570,000) on Friday for bribing overseas public officers in a case associated to Iranian contracts in 1997.

A message studying “out of order” is seen at a Whole petrol station in Reze close to Nantes, France, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Whole, was charged with paying $30 million underneath the duvet of a consultancy contract to facilitate a deal for the South Pars fuel area greater than 20 years in the past, which the Paris prosecutor stated coated “corruption funds”.

Court docket paperwork stated that from round 1995 to 2004, on the request of an Iranian official cited as Medhi Hashemi Rafsanjani, the son of Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Whole and intermediaries made illicit funds to middlemen designated by Medhi to assist the corporate.

Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani was not instantly obtainable to touch upon Friday.

Whole’s Chairman and Chief Govt Officer Patrick Pouyanne stated in a press release after the ruling that the corporate would not pursue the matter as a result of not one of the people underneath investigation have been nonetheless alive.

“Anybody who knew (former Whole CEO) Christophe de Margerie is aware of that he would by no means be concerned in any sort of corruption,” Pouyanne stated.

“Nonetheless, given the precise circumstances of this case, which has been already judged within the U.S. and through which not one of the people can defend themselves, Whole doesn’t wish to pursue it,” he added.

It’s not the primary time that Whole’s enterprise with Iran has led to court docket. In 2013 it agreed to pay $398 million to settle a U.S. felony and civil allegation that it paid bribes between 1995 and 2004 to win oil and fuel contracts.

This was billed as the primary coordinated motion by French and U.S. legislation enforcement in a significant overseas bribery case and on the time the Paris prosecutor really useful Whole and its then CEO de Margerie face trial in France.

De Margerie died in 2014 in a aircraft crash.

($1 = 0.8767 euros)

Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Bate Felix, writing by Dominique Vidalon; Modifying by Leigh Thomas and Alexander Smith

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