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    John Wood Group settles bribery issues with Brazil, UK and US

Summary

The charges stem from the activity of Amec Foster Wheeler, which it acquired in 2017.

by: Daniel Graeber

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John Wood Group settles bribery issues with Brazil, UK and US

Scotlands John Wood Group said June 25 it had reached a multilateral settlement to resolve bribery and corruption charges in Brazil and elsewhere.

The company said it agreed to pay a $177mn settlement to resolve corruption and bribery charges related to Amec Foster Wheeler, which Wood acquired in 2017. Amec acquired Foster Wheeler in 2014 and Wood said the issues in question occurred before those acquisition dates.

The Wood Group said it would make payments over the next three years following agreements with authorities in Brazil and the UK.

“The investigations brought to light unacceptable, albeit historical, behaviour that I condemn in the strongest terms,” Wood chief executive Robin Watson said. “Although we inherited these issues through acquisition, we took full responsibility in addressing them, as any responsible business would.”

The UK case is related to Foster Wheeler’s use of third-party agents involved in bribery and corruption in five countries. The US case relates to similar charges in Brazil, where the US Justice Department intervened in 2019.

Last week, Brazilian energy company Petrobras said it received the third and final payment of $54.8mn from an affiliate of TechnipFMC as part of the effort to resolve anti-corruption issues in Brazil following the so-called Operation Car Wash probe.

The operation refers to allegations of corruption at Petrobras, which was accused of taking bribes in exchange for lucrative contracts. The US Justice Department in 2019 found that TechnipFMC and its US subsidiary paid bribes to Brazilian officials. The company agreed to pay more than $296mn in total to resolve the charges.

The Woods settlement is subject to a final legal settlement, for which the company provided no deadline.