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An engineering company will pay more than $43 million, including $10.1 million in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fines, to settle Foreign Corrupt Practices Act-related charges related to a Brazilian bribery scheme, the agency said Friday.
Foster Wheeler Ltd., which is now owned by Aberdeen, Scotland-based John Wood PLC, engaged in a scheme to obtain an oil and gas engineering and design contract from the Brazilian-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro S.A., the SEC said in a statement.
The agency said that from 2012 through 2014 Foster Wheeler’s U.K. subsidiary, Foster Wheeler Energy Ltd., made improper payments to Brazilian officials in connection with its efforts to win the contract and establish a business presence in Brazil. It said the bribes were paid through third-party agents.
Foster Wheeler paid about $1.1 million in bribes in connection with obtaining the contract.
Foster Wheeler agreed to the SEC’s cease-and-desist order finding that it violated the anti-bribery, books and records, and internal accounting controls provisions of the FCPA and agreed to pay $22.7 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest.
The SEC’s order provides for offsets for up to $9.1 million of any disgorgement paid to Brazilian regulators and up to $3.5 million for any paid to the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office, leaving the company with a minimum payment to the SEC of about $10.1 million.
Charles Cain, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division's FCPA unit, said in a statement, “The potential for a new market cannot be a siren's song that overwhelms good corporate governance."
John Wood PLC said in a statement, “The resolutions relate to historical conduct which occurred before Amec PLC acquired Foster Wheeler AG in November 2014 and prior to the combined firm’s acquisition by Wood in October 2017.
“Wood cooperated fully with all authorities in their investigations, which is reflected in the cooperation credit that Wood received from the authorities in their respective resolutions.”