UK engineering firm Wood has agreed to pay $177m to settle bribery and corruption investigations in the UK, the US and Brazil, concerning Amec Foster Wheeler, the company it acquired in 2017.
Aberdeen-headquartered Wood will pay the amount over the next three years. About $62m will be paid out in the second half of this year, and the balance in instalments in 2022, 2023 and 2024.
In 2017, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) launched a probe into Amec’s use of third parties to gain contracts, just weeks after Wood Group’s proposed acquisition was approved. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said the investigation concerned a scheme to pay bribes to officials in Brazil for a $190m deal to design a gas-to-chemicals complex.
“Although we inherited these issues through acquisition, we took full responsibility in addressing them, as any responsible business would. Since our acquisition of Amec Foster Wheeler, we have cooperated fully with the authorities and have taken steps to further improve our ethics and compliance programme,” stated Robin Watson, CEO of Wood.
The settlement, subject to final court approval in the UK, is part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the SFO and the US DOJ for three years, requiring Wood to cooperate in the continuing bribery probe.