Helmerich & Payne Agrees to Pay $1 Million Penalty to Resolve Allegations of Foreign Bribery in South America
Helmerich & Payne Inc. (H&P) has entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice to resolve improper payments by H&P to government officials in Argentina and Venezuela in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
H&P, a Delaware corporation, is headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company provides oil drilling rigs, equipment and personnel on a contract basis, primarily in the United States and South America, with subsidiaries in both Argentina and Venezuela.
As described in the agreement, H&P has acknowledged responsibility for the actions of its subsidiaries, employees and agents who made various improper payments to officials of the Argentine and Venezuelan customs services, both government agencies. These payments were made in order to import and export goods that were not within regulations, to import goods that could not lawfully be imported, and to evade higher duties and taxes on the goods.
The agreement requires that H&P pay a $1 million penalty, implement rigorous internal controls and cooperate fully with the Department. The agreement recognizes H&P’s voluntary disclosure and thorough self-investigation of the underlying conduct, the cooperation provided by the company to the Department, and the extensive remedial efforts undertaken by the company.
As a result of these mitigating factors, the Department has agreed not to prosecute H&P or its subsidiaries for the making of improper payments, provided that H&P satisfies its obligations under the agreement for a period of two years. Those obligations include ongoing cooperation, payment of the $1 million penalty and further remedial steps.
In a related matter, H&P reached a settlement today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under which it agreed to pay more than $375,000 in disgorgement of profits, including pre-judgment interest.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Kathleen M. Hamann of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.