Civil Action No. 1:13CV461 (E.D. Va., April 16, 2013) The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Parker Drilling Company, a worldwide drilling services and project management firm, with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by authorizing improper payments to a third-party intermediary retained to assist the company in resolving customs disputes.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Alexandria, Virginia, alleges that in 2004 Parker Drilling authorized payments to a Nigerian agent totaling $1.25 million. The company did so despite former senior executives knowing that the agent intended to use the funds to „entertain“ Nigerian officials involved in resolving Parker Drilling’s ongoing customs problems. Following the Nigerian agent’s work, the company received an unexplained $3,050,000 reduction of a previously assessed customs fine, and the company was permitted to nationalize and sell its Nigerian rigs.
To settle the SEC’s charges, Parker Drilling will pay disgorgement of $3,050,000 plus pre-judgment interest of $1,040,818. Parker Drilling consented to the entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining it from violating Sections 30A, 13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act. The proposed settlement is subject to court approval.
In the parallel criminal proceedings, the Department of Justice entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with Parker Drilling in which the company will pay an $11,760,000 penalty.
The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the Department of Justice’s Fraud Section, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan Police Service.