Houston: Oil field services giant Schlumberger struck a plea deal with US authorities on Wednesday to pay $232.7 million in penalties for conducting business with Iran and Sudan, in violation of US trade sanctions.
The plea deal comes after a six-year probe by the Justice Department of the company’s international dealings led to charges against the firm “for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA),”
If a federal court approves the deal, Schlumberger will pay $155.1 million in criminal fines and forfeit $77.6 million in profits.
According to court documents, a Schlumberger business unit disguised and approved capital expenditure requests from both countries, transferred drilling equipment, and provided technical support – all of which violate the act.
The investigation discovered that Schlumberger employees outside the US referred to Iran and Sudan as the “Northern Gulf” and “Southern Egypt” in emails to supervisors at their Texas campus in Sugar Land, near Houston. Those supervisors then approved capital spending requests to ship drilling tools to the sanctioned countries.
Individual employees and executives were not charged.
Schlumberger, French-founded but now headquartered near Houston, Texas, employs around 120,000 people working in more than 80 countries on drilling project on land and at sea. It supplies the oil industry with services such as seismic acquisition and processing, formation evaluation, well testing and directional drilling.