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U.S. in Pact Over Bribery Charges With Royal Dutch Shell

November 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Oil News

U.S. in Pact Over Bribery Charges With Royal Dutch Shell

Shell is expected to pay more than $30 million and agree to a deferred prosecution agreement against a Nigerian subsidiary that allegedly violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

WASHINGTON—U.S. authorities are expected to file foreign bribery charges Thursday against Royal Dutch Shell Co. and a Swiss shipping company as part of a settlement deal that will resolve a three-year long investigation that spread to nearly half a dozen other global companies, people familiar with the matter say.

As part of the settlement, Shell is expected to pay more than $30 million and agree to a deferred prosecution agreement against a Nigerian subsidiary that allegedly violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Panalpina, the Swiss shipping company, will also agree to a deferred prosecution agreement with its U.S. subsidiary and pay close to $85 million. Both companies will also settle SEC civil charges, these people say.

In a deferred prosecution agreement the government files a criminal indictment, but if the company abides by its terms for a set period of time the government agrees to drop the prosecution.

As part of the settlement, the Justice Department and the SEC are expected to charge that Shell and Panalpina Group illegally paid Nigerian officials and others to expedite services, such as clearing drilling and other equipment into the country, people familiar with the matter say.

Spokesmen for the companies and agencies involved in the Panalpina probe previously either declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The U.S. investigation has extended to many of Panalpina’s customers, including Shell, and oilfield-services companies Nabors Industries Ltd., Schlumberger Ltd., Transocean Ltd. and Noble Corp., according to securities filings by those companies. Several of those companies also are expected to reach settlements with U.S. authorities in coming weeks, people familiar with the matter say. It’s unclear if authorities will announce deals with those companies today.

The Panalpina probe, which began in 2007, prompted some oil-services companies to examine how their agents move critical equipment around the world, and some found other laws were potentially broken in the process.

An internal investigation by Global Santa Fe Corp., for example, found that it might have violated U.S. sanctions laws after a freight forwarder shipped goods to its rig in Turkmenistan through Iran, according to company filings. The company, which has since merged with Transocean, said in a filing it had reported the possible infraction to the U.S. Treasury Department.
– royaldutchshellplc –

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