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Abbot Group pays £5.6 million to settle foreign bribes case

An oil and gas driller based in Scotland has agreed to pay £5.6 million in a civil settlement after it self reported overseas bribes to win business.

Abbot Group, headquartered in Aberdeen, paid the bribes in 2007, before the U.K. Bribery Act became law.

The payments apparently were made by an overseas subsidiary.

Abbot discovered the bribery through an internal investigation last year. It self reported the results to the Crown Office.

The Crown Office is responsible for the prosecution of crime in Scotland.

The Crown Office’s Civil Recovery Unit will accept payment of £5.6 million ‘under Proceeds of Crime legislation after the Abbot Group accepted that it had benefited from unlawful conduct,’ a government release said.

Ruaraidh Macniven, Head of the Civil Recovery Unit, said, 

Abbot is the first company to have met the strict criteria of the self-reporting initiative since it was introduced in 2011. That initiative enables responsible businesses to draw a line under previous conduct and, providing the criteria are met, affords the possibility of a civil settlement. Self-reporting is an important way to ensure that corruption is exposed and that companies put in place effective systems to prevent it. The funds which have been recovered will be remitted to the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

The amount of the settlement represents profit Abbot made on the tainted contract.

Abbot agreed to pay the settlement in three stages by March 2015, plus 8% interest on the outstanding balance.

The Crown Office hasn’t ruled out criminal enforcement against individuals that might be culpable.

A November 28 release from the Crown Office is here.

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