Total pays fines for working in Iran

May 30, 2013 at 8:00 AM   |   0 comments

PARIS, May 30 (UPI) -- French supermajor Total said it agreed to pay nearly $400 million in an agreement with the U.S. government over petroleum contracts in Iran.

Total said it would pay $245 million to the U.S. Justice Department and $153 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Total said the payments put "an end to an investigation initiated in 2003 concerning petroleum contracts awarded in Iran in the 1990s."

The Justice Department accused Total of paying $60 million in bribes to Iranian government officials from 1995-2004 to get oil and natural gas rights in the country. Total said it wouldn't face U.S. prosecution after reaching the agreement in return for reinforcing compliance programs.

"These settlements, the outcome of which are customary in the United States, allow us to put an end to this investigation," Total Chief Financial Officer Patrick de La Chevardiere said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing our work and in demonstrating our strong commitment to ensuring ethical and legal compliance with the laws around the world."

Total said it was the target of a separate French investigation but said it hadn't committed any violations of French law.

Italian energy company Eni said in April that it could face penalties from the U.S. government for its work in Iran. Eni said it has been operating in Iran "for several years" through service contracts with the National Iranian Oil Co.

Sanctions on Iran's energy sector are meant to starve it of financing for a controversial nuclear program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes.

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