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Statoil agrees to pay bribe fine

Date Class
14th Oct 2004 Questionable Business Practice
Norwegian oil and gas giant Statoil has agreed to pay a 20m-kroner ($3m; 1.7m) penalty imposed upon it for alleged bribery in Iran.

The company has however "not admitted or denied the charges".

Statoil was hit with the penalty in June after it paid a consultancy $15.2m to "influence decision-makers in the Iranian oil and gas industry".

Norwegian police started their investigation last September and three Statoil officials have since resigned.

In June 2002, Statoil agreed to pay the London-based consultancy Horton Investments $15m for advice on how best to invest in Iran.

Norwegian authorities have concluded that the transaction represented a criminal offence.

"Statoil accepts that there were violations of its own ethical policies and standards, and has taken a number of steps to prevent a similar situation from arising in the future," the company said in a statement.

Statoil, which is listed in Oslo and New York, still faces the possibility of being fined by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which is continuing to investigate the matter.

Despite the scandal, Statoil's share price has surged by 33% since the start of 2004, benefiting from record global oil prices.

State-controlled Statoil was partly privatised in 2001.




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