Swiss company to pay $253 million to settle corruption charges

Pumpjacks are seen in an aerial view in the early morning near Watford City, North Dakota.

The U.S. government has announced a $253 million fine against Weatherford, a Swiss oil and gas services company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange. The penalty settles charges by the U.S. government that Weatherford violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). 

Here, we’re talking all sorts bad behavior; bribery, kickbacks, and selling products to countries with economic sanctions in place like Iran, Cuba, Syria, and Sudan.

“It’s a fairly typical FCPA enforcement action,” says Southern Illinois University law professor Mike Koehler. Typical, he says, except for the $253 million dollar fine, which lands it in the top-10 list of FCPA enforcements.

The settlement comes on the heels of a newly negotiated agreement with Iran. But, Koehler says, that’s a coincidence.

“This Weatherford enforcement action has been expected for a couple of years now,” he says.

The company says in a statement: “this matter is now behind us.”

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
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