The Paris Criminal Court on Dec. 21 found French oil and gas company Total SA guilty of bribing a foreign public official and ordered the company to pay a €500,000 (U.S. $570,000) fine.
The ruling came at the end of a trial involving events that occurred between 1997 and 2004. All the individuals under investigation, including Christophe de Margerie, are now deceased. Thus, these individuals were not able to defend themselves, undermining the conditions for a fair trial, Total stated.
“Anyone who knew Christophe de Margerie knows that he would never be involved in any type of corruption,” said Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné. “However, given the specific circumstances of this case, which has been already judged in the United States and in which none of the individuals can defend themselves, Total doesn’t want to pursue it.”
In 2013, Total SA paid more than $398 million to U.S. prosecutors for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. As Compliance Week previously reported, Total was accused of paying $60 million in bribes to intermediaries of an Iranian government official over a period of nearly a decade in exchange for securing two major oil and gas contracts in Iran. In addition, Total made more than $150 million in illegal profits through the bribery scheme, according to the charges.