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Serious Fraud Office secures third set of Petrofac bribery convictions

4 October, 2021 | Case Updates

  • The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has secured the conviction of Petrofac Limited for seven separate counts of failure to prevent bribery between 2011 and 2017.
  • Petrofac Limited pleaded guilty to failing to prevent former senior executives of the Petrofac group of subsidiaries (the Petrofac Group) from using agents to systematically bribe officials, to win oil contracts in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Petrofac Limited admitted that senior executives of the Petrofac Group paid GBP 32 million (USD 44 million) in bribes to corrupt the awarding of contracts worth approximately GBP 2.6 billion (USD 3.5 billion).
  • Today, Petrofac Limited was ordered to pay confiscation of GBP 22,836,985, they were fined over GBP 47,197,640 and the SFO’s costs of GBP 7 million.
  • David Lufkin, Petrofac Group’s former Head of Sales, was also sentenced today. He received a two-year custodial sentence, which was suspended for 18 months, for committing 14 counts of bribery.

Petrofac Limited has been ordered to pay GBP 77 million after the SFO secured further convictions in its investigation into bribery and corruption at the Jersey-registered energy services company.

On Friday, Petrofac Limited pleaded guilty to seven separate counts of failing to prevent bribery between 2011 and 2017.

Petrofac Limited admitted that it failed to prevent former senior executives of the Petrofac Group from paying GBP 32 million (USD 44 million) in bribes, to help the Petrofac Group win over GBP 2.6 billion (USD 3.5 billion) of contracts in the oil and gas industry in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Court heard how, over a period of six years, senior executives within the Petrofac Group engaged in elaborate schemes to corrupt the awarding of contracts, using agents to systematically bribe officials to win lucrative contracts by unfair and dishonest means.

A key feature of the case was the complex and deliberately opaque methods used by these senior executives to pay agents across borders, disguising payments through sub-contractors, creating fake contracts for fictitious services and, in some cases, passing bribes through more than one agent and one country, to disguise their actions.

Lisa Osofsky, Director, Serious Fraud Office, said: “By pleading guilty, Petrofac Limited has accepted that senior executives within the Petrofac Group acted deliberately and without conscience in the pursuit of greed. The company’s failure to prevent this conduct distorted competitive market conditions and tainted the oil and gas industry.

“Today’s result should serve as a warning; the SFO will use all the powers at its disposal to root out and prosecute companies and individuals, whose criminal activity detrimentally affects the reputation and integrity of the United Kingdom.

“The SFO welcomes Petrofac Limited taking responsibility for its conduct.”

This is the third set of convictions secured by the SFO in its four-year investigation into cross-border corruption at the Petrofac Group. David Lufkin, former Head of Sales at Petrofac pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bribery in 2019 and 3 counts of bribery in 2021.

Lufkin was today sentenced to a two-year custodial sentence, which was suspended for 18 months. In addition to pleading guilty, David Lufkin co-operated with SFO investigators and assisted with the investigation.

The SFO continues to investigate this case.