On March 18, 2010, specialty fuel and chemical manufacturer Innospec Inc., with principal offices in the United States and the United Kingdom, agreed to pay $40.2 million to resolve global corruption claims by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the United Kingdom’s Serious Frauds Office (SFO). This coordinated investigation revealed that Innospec paid or promised to pay more than $9.2 million in bribes to government officials in Iraq and Indonesia in exchange for $176 million in contracts for the fuel additive tetraethyl lead (TEL). These bribes were often disguised as “commissions” or legitimate travel expenses. Although the DOJ, SEC, OFAC, and SFO worked collaboratively in investigating the various claims against Innospec, each agency initiated separate actions against the company.
In its plea agreement with the DOJ, Innospec pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) counts for paying kickbacks to Iraq in violation of the United Nations Oil for Food Program. Sanctions include a $14.1 million criminal fine, commitment to retain an independent compliance monitor for a period of at least three years, and full cooperation with the DOJ and other law enforcement agencies in ongoing investigations. The DOJ also refused to release potential claims against individuals.
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