The Importance of Being Cooperative; Are Facilitating Payments Causing More Problems?
Tidewater Inc. is now investigating its compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act worldwide, the company said in an October 4, 2007 press release. In April this year, Tidewater announced an internal investigation of practices in Nigeria. The Nigeria investigation — which grew out of the Department of Justice’s review of Panalpina’s operations there — uncovered potential compliance problems in several countries.
Tidewater’s 454-vessel fleet is the largest in the offshore energy industry. It says it is looking at immigration and customs practices, and its use of agents for obtaining business. It doesn’t mention which other countries are involved, but Panalpina — a global logistics and freight forwarding firm — has said the DOJ asked for information about customs clearance, among other things, in Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan as well as Nigeria.
The dozen or so oil and gas-related companies implicated so far in the investigation of Panalpina may be working to keep their internal investigations a step or two ahead of the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. They will want to be viewed by the DOJ and SEC as cooperative when it comes time to resolve any FCPA problems that are found.
The current crop of oil and gas-related investigations into customs clearance and immigration practices should eventually help clarify the permitted uses of facilitating payments, a favorite topic of The FCPA Blog.
Tidewater Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TDW.
View Tidewater’s Press Release Here.