Weatherford is well known in the compliance community for its 2013 FCPA settlement where it agreed to the then-ninth largest FCPA fine of all-time. Additionally, one of its subsidiaries, pled guilty to violating the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. The total amount of fines and penalties for the FCPA violations was $152.6 million. The company was also hit with another $100 million in fines and penalties for trade sanctions bringing its total amount paid to $252.6 million.
The company entered into a three-year DPA, which included an external monitor. However, the term of the monitor was not the entire length of the three-year DPA; the term of the monitor was only 18 months. The monitor’s primary function was to assess the company’s compliance with the terms of the DPA and report the results to the Justice Department at least twice during the terms of the monitorship. The DPA also provided that the term of the external monitor could be extended by the DoJ.
Last week, the SEC announced that Weatherford had agreed to pay a $140 million penalty to settle charges that it inflated earnings by using deceptive income tax accounting. Yet what intrigued The Man From FCPA was the information at the bottom of the SEC Press Release which read: “The SEC’s investigation is continuing. It’s being conducted by Jim Valentino, Ilana Sultan, and Natalie Lentz with assistance from Kevin Lombardi. The case is being supervised by Tracy L. Price and Kara Brockmeyer.”
For those without a score card at home, Kara Brockmeyer is the chief, FCPA Unit at and Tracy Price is the assistant director, SEC Division of Enforcement, Foreign Corrupt Practices Unit. Jim Valentino, Ilana Sultan, and Natalie Lentz all work in the FCPA unit and have previously been reported to have worked on FCPA enforcement actions. It certainly sounds like the SEC is looking at some accounting provisions issues with Weatherford regarding the FCPA. What makes all of this even more interesting is that the FCPA Blog released its quarterly list of companies that have been publicly reported to be under FCPA investigation. Weatherford is not on the list.