Firm to pay £6.4m over bribery to land contracts in Kazakhstan

Offshore energy company WGPSN, part of the John Wood Group, self-reported over a subsidiary’s role in corruption.

Firm to pay £6.4m over bribery to land contracts in Kazakhstan PA Ready

An Aberdeen company is to pay back more than £6.4m after it self-reported involvement in bribery to secure contracts in Kazakhstan.

The Civil Recovery Unit is to recover the money under proceeds of crime legislation after the company accepted it had benefitted from unlawful conduct.

Energy company WGPSN admitted that one of its subsidiaries, PSNA Limited, had benefitted from payments made to Unaoil to secure contracts in Kazakhstan.

The payments to Unaoil were made in connection with three contract tenders, two of which were successful, to provide services for the operation and maintenance of onshore and offshore oil and gas, chemical and petrochemical facilities in Kazakhstan.

WGPSN’s ultimate holding company is John Wood Group PLC.

The contracts were entered into before the PSNA business was acquired by Wood, and the potential misconduct came to light in March 2016.

Wood conducted an internal investigation and, in May 2017, the results of the investigation were submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Copfs).

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said: “Bribery and corruption undermine legitimate business and harm economic development.

“Companies are responsible for ensuring they do not allow their employees or contractors to secure any commercial advantage through bribery.

“Copfs and the Civil Recovery Unit are committed to taking effective steps to ensure businesses face up to their responsibilities and relinquish any unlawfully obtained profits.

“Any companies who uncover any instances of bribery should notify the Crown Office as soon as possible.”

WGPSN submitted a formal report under the self-reporting initiative in September 2019.

After consideration, Copfs referred the case to the Civil Recovery Unit for investigation.

The Crown Office said that Wood and WGPSN fully co-operated with the Civil Recovery Unit’s investigation and that they have taken steps to develop and improve policies and training to try to prevent similar events taking place in the future.

WGPSN has now agreed to pay £6,465,564, which represents the dividends and retained profits from the two contracts.

Anne-Louise House, head of the Civil Recovery Unit, said: “The self-reporting initiative allows for responsible companies to accept their involvement in corrupt practices and to draw a line under previous conduct.

“In appropriate circumstances such as this, it gives them the opportunity to repay the illegitimate profits in lieu of criminal proceedings.

“The funds which have been recovered will be remitted to the Scottish Consolidated Fund.”

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