French Court Imposes €500,000 Fine On Oil Group Total

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Today, a court in Paris, France, has imposed a €500,000 (£450,200) fine on Total, an  oil giant, in a case that is related to the bribery of foreign officials in dealings with Iran way back in 1997.

Total was charged with paying approximately $30 million (£23.7m) in bribes that were disguised under a consultancy contract in order to forge a deal for the South Pars gas field more than twenty years ago.

Court documents said that from the period of 1995 to 2004, at the request of an Iranian official who was cited as Medhi Hashemi Rafsanjani, the son of the former president of Iran Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Total and intermediaries made various illicit payments to middlemen who were designated by Medhi to help the firm.

Today, the prosecution in Paris disclosed that the actions of the group essentially surmounted to “corruption payments.”

In a statement, Patrick Pouyanne, the chairman and chief executive of Total, dsiclosed the ruling that the company would no longer pursue the matter, in court or internally since none of the individuals who are under investigation were still alive.

Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of the oil group at the time of the scandal, died in a plane crash four years ago.

Pouyanne stated: “Anyone who knew Christophe de Margerie knows that he would never be involved in any type of corruption.”

He continued: “However, given the specific circumstances of this case, which has been already judged in the US and in which none of the individuals can defend themselves, Total doesn’t want to pursue it.”

In 2013, Total agreed to pay a fine amounting to $398 million to settle both civil and criminal allegations over bribery in the United States of America. It was alleged that Total paid bribes between the period of 1995 and 2004 to win oil and gas contracts in Iran.