News

SEC’s Iron Fist: Halliburton Agrees to Pay $29.2 Mln to Settle FCPA Violations

Multinational firm Halliburton has agreed to pay $29.2 mln to settle its case with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The agency has filed a case against the oilfield services provider due to violations of the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

The company also consented to hire an independent compliance consultant to supervise its anti-corruption policies and procedures in Africa.

The firm’s former vice president, Jeannot Lorenz, was meted a fine of $75,000 for his key role in the violations.

In 2008, the officials of Angolan state oil firm Sonangol advised Halliburton officials to partner with local businesses in Angola to comply with local content regulations for foreign companies in order to do business in the country. Lorenz has negotiated to retain a local firm owned by a former Halliburton employee.

The employee was a friend and neighbor of a Sonangol official who approved the award of contracts for new oil projects in the country.

Halliburton eventually outsourced over $13 mln worth of projects to its local partner company.

According to Antonia Chion, the SEC’s Enforcement Division Associate Director, Halliburton has failed to follow the internal accounting controls that are intended to ensure the integrity and transparency of corporate deals.

Chion says:

“Halliburton committed to using a particular supplier that posed significant FCPA risks and a company vice president circumvented important internal accounting controls to get the deal done quickly.”

SEC clamping on violators

Meanwhile, the SEC has announced two whistleblower awards.

The first award, which is worth over $1.7 mln, was given to a company insider who provided vital information about a fraud that is difficult to identify.

The second award of almost $2.5 mln was given to a local government agency employee who assisted the SEC in investigating and eventually stopping a misconduct by various companies.

Wild West in ICOs may soon be over

SEC has not been focusing on imposing regulations on traditional companies as it already started its probe of Blockchain technologies and companies in June.

A couple of years ago, its strict regulations also closed down two exchanges and its most recent blow to Blockchain industry is its decision to subject DAO tokens to securities law.

Former Cryptsy CEO was also ordered to pay fines of $8.2 mln over a class-action lawsuit.

Such recent moves from SEC could be signaling that the Wild West in the Blockchain investment may soon be over as the US regulatory body is keen in not only taking a closer look but possibly ensuring that all regulations and guidelines being imposed.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top