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Total SA heads for the top ten

French oil giant Total SA said in its third quarter results it has reserved $398 million for an FCPA settlement with the DOJ and SEC.

U.S. enforcement agencies have been investigating Total’s operations in Iran since 2003. The investigation has focused on payments to consultants who helped Total win rights to gas fields, and whether the payments went to Iranian officials.

Total said the DOJ and SEC have drafted proposed settlement agreements.

‘[A’lthough discussions have not yet been finalized,’ Total said, ‘a provision of €308 million ($398 million) reflecting the best estimate of the potential costs associated with the resolution of these proceedings, remains booked in the Group’s consolidated financial statements as of September 20, 2012.’

The earnings release also said Total and its Middle East CEO at the time of the alleged offenses are under investigation in France.

Total trades on the NYSE under the symbol TOT.

Earlier this year, Total said it rejected ‘out-of-court settlement solutions’ with the DOJ and SEC.

But Total is now fully cooperating with the feds, it said.

A U.S. settlement wouldn’t involve an admission of guilt, according to Total.

The company’s third quarter earnings release is here.

A settlement by Total of $398 million would rank as the fourth biggest FCPA enforcement action of all time.

*      *     *

Here’s our current top ten list:

1. Siemens (Germany): $800 million in 2008.

2. KBR / Halliburton (USA): $579 million in 2009.

3. BAE (UK): $400 million in 2010.

4. Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V. / ENI S.p.A (Holland/Italy): $365 million in 2010.

5. Technip S.A. (France): $338 million in 2010.

6. JGC Corporation (Japan) $218.8 million in 2011.

7. Daimler AG (Germany): $185 million in 2010.

8. Alcatel-Lucent (France): $137 million in 2010.

9. Magyar Telekom / Deutsche Telekom (Hungary /Germany): $95 million in 2011.

10. Panalpina (Switzerland): $81.8 million in 2010.

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