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France

French oil company Total fined for Iran bribes

media A l'origine de la grève, le désaccord entre Unite et Total, qui gère les plates-formes concernées sur les salaires et les conditions de travail. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

A court in Paris has ordered the French oil company Total to pay a symbolic fine of 500,000 euros for bribing Iranian public officials.

Total was accused of having spent over 26 million euros on bribing Iranian officials to ensure the success of a deal allowing the French company access to the South Pars oilfield. The bribes were paid between 2000 and 2004.

The court found that the money was ostensibly paid to a consultancy company, but was in reality used to pay back-handers.

Much of the cash was paid to Medhi Rafsanjani, the son of then Iranian president, Hachemi Rafsanjani.

Medhi Rafsanjani was the director of several subsidiaries of the Iranian National Oil Company, with which organisation Total finally concluded the South Pars deal in September, 1997.

In its defence, Total claimed that the payments had been necessary to ensure the success of the French bid. The company further asserted that, since the bribes were paid outside France, the case had no place before a French court.

The court did not agree and imposed a symbolic fine of 500,000 euros.

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