Nationality of Foreign Officials: Brazil
Summary of Allegations:
Between 2011 and 2014, Amec Foster Wheeler bribed decision-makers of Brazilian state-owned company Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. with approximately US$ 1.1 million to secure a US$ 190 million contract to design a local gas-to-chemicals complex. The bribery scheme involved multiple high-level executives of the company and utilized at least two intermediaries to facilitate the illicit payments.
In 2011, an Italian sales agent approached the AFW’s Chairman of the Board in a clothing store in New York City and was connected with AFW’s Brazil Country Manager. AFW and the agent started discussing the upcoming bidding effort on Petrobras’ contract of designing a gas-to-chemical fertilizer plant; and entered into an interim agency agreement.
The agent attempted to bring in a Monaco-based intermediary, which was declined by AFW as the intermediary had previously failed AFW’s due diligence review.
When the agent was pending AFW’s due diligence review, he traveled to Brazil to interact with Petrobras on behalf of AFW. AFW subsequently determined that the agent did not pass the due diligence process and disengaged with the agent without exiting the interim agency agreement.
In 2012, the agent connected AFW’s Brazil Country Manager with a Brazilian intermediary operated by a former Petrobras official. The Manager submitted the intermediary’s information for the due diligence process and was instructed by his director to conceal the agent’s association with the Brazilian intermediary.
AFW greenlighted the Brazilian intermediary’s due diligence review and hired it as a sales agent with a 2% commission on the bidding project. The intermediary and the Italian agent bribed a Petrobras official in exchange for confidential information of the bidding. The illicit payments were mischaracterized as commissions on AFW’s books and records.
Approximate Alleged Payments to Foreign Officials: US$ 1.1 million
Business Advantage Allegedly Obtained: Contract with state-owned company (Petrobras)
Agencies: Brazil: Advogado-Geral da União (AGU), Brazil: Controladoria-Geral da União (CGU), Brazil: Public Prosecutor's Office / Ministerio Publico Federal (MPF) , United Kingdom: Serious Fraud Office, United States: Department of Justice, United States: Securities and Exchange Commission
Results: Cease-and-Desist Order, Civil Penalty, Criminal Fine, Deferred Prosecution Agreement, Disgorgement
Year Resolved: 2021
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice have requested information from the company.
On 11 July 2017, the UK Serious Fraud Office informed Amec Foster Wheeler that it had opened an investigation into the company, along with any predecessor companies and associated persons. According to the SFO, the investigation concerns suspected offences of bribery, corruption and related offences. The company affirmed its continued cooperation with the SFO's investigation.
On 25 June 2021, the company reached a global resolution with agencies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Brazil to resolve charges stemming from a bribery scheme in Brazil.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission charge Amec Foster Wheeler Energy with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and substantive violations of the FCPA anti-bribery, books and records, and internal accounting controls provisions.
The company agreed to pay a criminal fine of US$ 18,375,000 as well as disgorgement and interest of approximately US$ 22.7 million, for a total settlement amount of approximately US$ 41.1 million.
Approximately US$ 23.3 million is to be credited against amounts to be paid to UK and Brazilian authorities, resulting in an ultimate payment to U.S. authorities of approximately US$ 17.8 million. The company has reported that it will pay a total of US$ 177 million under the global settlement.
The three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ reflects a 25% reduction off the bottom of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines based on the company’s remediation.
The company agreed to continue cooperation with the U.S. government on potential investigations and report on its compliance measures enhancement and implementation.