Feds settle with oil giant over Iranian bribe scheme

The company, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, tried to disguise the payments in its records as “legitimate ‘business development expenses’ related to the consulting agreements,” according to the SEC’s order against Total, which violates parts of the Securities Exchange Act.

The Obama administration said the company also “lacked sufficient internal controls to comply with federal laws prohibiting bribery.” As part of the order, Total would be required to hire a compliance expert to ensure the company complied with all


In addition to the SEC’s charges – which ordered Total to pay the $153 million it received in profits – the Department of Justice (DOJ) and French officials also filed suit.

“Today we announce the first coordinated action by French and U.S. law enforcement in a major foreign bribery case,” said the DOJ’s acting assistant attorney general, Mythili Raman, in a release on Wednesday.

According to federal documents, Total agreed to pay an additional $245.2 million to resolve the DOJ’s allegations that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Law enforcement officials in France also moved forward with charging the company’s senior officials with violating the country’s foreign bribery law.

“Our two countries are working more closely today than ever before to combat corporate corruption, and Total, which bought business through bribes, now faces the criminal consequences across two continents,” Raman said.

Total S.A. brought in more than $236 billion, or more than 182 billion euros, in revenue during 2012.