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FMC Technologies discloses DOJ fallout from Unaoil

Image courtesy of FMC TechnologiesFMC Technologies received “an inquiry” from the Justice Department as part an investigation into whether services Unaoil provided to clients, including FMC, violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The company made the disclosure in a securities filing Thursday.

A report in late March by the Huffington Post and Fairfax Media said Monaco-based Unaoil paid bribes on behalf of large companies in the oil and gas sector.

Houston-based FMC Technologies provides oil and gas-related equipment.

A HuffPo report on April 11, apparently based on leaked internal Unaoil documents, talked about Unaoil’s relationship with the company.

The report said:

In one 2005 email to his colleagues, Basil Al Jarah, a Unaoil executive, described a September meeting in Paris with Laurent Poidevin, then a sales and marketing VP for FMC Technologies, an American equipment firm. Al Jarah bragged that he had convinced FMC to hire Unaoil to obtain a contract to install between four and six new loading arms at a major port in Kuwait. Here’s an excerpt:

I secured a commitment of 10% to be made in writing by close of business today. I requested FMC provide three letters as follows:

1% To [another company] for making the introduction.

7% To Unaoil which we will show to the big cheese in Kuwait.

2% To Unaoil which can be split internally.

Mr. Laurent had no problems with that as long as it is not made out in individual names. He will run this by his CEO when he gets to the office and send the commitment email at once to be followed by a consultancey [sic] contract which both parties are expected to sign….

…[Another intermediary] is handling the big cheese in Kuwait and to decide what portion of the 7% should go to that man.

An FMC Technologies spokesperson said in an email to the HuffPo: “FMC Technologies has a culture of accountability and compliance and competes on the strength of its technology, service, and execution excellence. Employees are expected to uphold our core value of integrity and are trained to report concerns. We thoroughly investigate all issues that are raised and take appropriate action. This is a long-standing commitment FMC Technologies has made everywhere we operate.”

In its quarterly report (Form 10-Q) filed with the SEC on April 28, FMC Technologies said:

On March 28, 2016 we received an inquiry from the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) related to the DOJ’s investigation of whether certain services Unaoil S.A.M. provided to its clients, including FMC Technologies, violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We are cooperating with the DOJ’s inquiry and are conducting our own internal investigation.

The company has about 17,000 employees. Its revenues last year were about $6 billion.

FMC Technologies, Inc. trades on the NYSE under the symbol FTI.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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