France: Total Faces Trial Over Iran Deals

French oil company Total is to stand trial over corruption allegations related to Iranian oil contracts from the mid 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Total allegedly paid US$ 60 million in bribes between 1995 and 2004 to Iranian government officials in return for development rights in three oil and gas fields, reports Reuters. 

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The company, along with two Iranians alleged to have been middlemen, will face charges in France of corruption of foreign public officials, reports Le Monde.

Total also faced potential criminal charges from the US for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law that bars firms that issue securities from paying bribes abroad. In 2013, however, the company paid the US a US$ 398.2 million settlement, hoping to end the issue. Despite this, French magistrates advised by the Paris prosecutor have decided that Total will face trial in France. The trial date has not been set.

The company’s former chief executive Christophe de Margerie – who died last month in a plane crash and would himself have faced charges – last year stated that should Total go to trial over the matter, it would argue that it acted legally, reports The New York Times.