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Innospec Charged In U.K.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office said Thursday it has charged Innospec Limited, a U.K. subsidiary of Delaware-based Innospec Inc., with “conspiracy to corrupt, contrary to Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.”  The allegations concern “bribery on a significant scale by Innospec and its agents in Indonesia.”

Last week, U.S. parent Innospec Inc. said in its latest Form 10-K that it hopes to settle bribery charges related to the U.N.’s oil-for-food program in Iraq with the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, for between $28.8 million and $40.2 million. The disclosure, which didn’t mention Indonesia, said the Serious Fraud Office notified Innospec’s British subsidiary in 2008 of an oil-for-food-related investigation.

Innospec manufactures specialty chemicals used as fuel additives.

The U.K. charges allege that from 2002 through 2006, some of the company’s “directors, executives, employees and agents” conspired to bribe Indonesian public officials and their representatives to win contracts for the supply of tetraethyl lead.

In its U.S. disclosure last week, Innospec identified Ousama Naaman as its agent in Iraq. The Canadian citizen, 60, was indicted in August 2008 and arrested in July last year in Frankfurt, Germany. He’s still there pending his extradition to the U.S. It’s not known if he was involved in the company’s business in Indonesia.

The next hearing in the U.K. case is scheduled for March 4, 2010.

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