Friday 21 December 2018 3:52 pm

French court fines oil group Total for bribing foreign officials in Iran corruption scandal

A Paris court has slapped oil giant Total with a €500,000 (£450,200) fine today, in a case relating to bribing foreign officials in dealings with Iran in 1997.

Total was charged with paying $30m (£23.7m) in bribes disguised under a consultancy contract to forge a deal for the South Pars gas field more than twenty years ago.

Today, the prosecution in Paris said the group's actions essentially surmounted to "corruption payments".

Total’s chairman and chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement after the ruling that the firm would no longer pursue the matter, in court or internally, because none of the individuals under investigation were still alive.

The oil group's chief executive at the time of the scandal, Christophe de Margerie, died in a plane crash four years ago.

"Anyone who knew Christophe de Margerie knows that he would never be involved in any type of corruption," said Pouyanne.

"However, given the specific circumstances of this case, which has been already judged in the US and in which none of the individuals can defend themselves, Total doesn’t want to pursue it," he added.

Previously in 2013, Total agreed to pay a fine of $398m to settle both criminal and civil allegations of bribery in the US. It was alleged that Total paid bribes between 1995 and 2004 to win oil and gas contracts in Iran.