Washington (AFP) - French-US oil services giant Schlumberger Ltd. was fined $232.7 million by the Justice Department Wednesday for violating sanctions on Iran and Sudan.
Fully owned subsidy Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings Ltd. admitted guilt to one count of "knowingly and willfully conspiring to violate" the US International Emergency Economic Powers Act, under which US sanctions are applied, the department said.
According to the charges, the company's Texas-based drilling and measurements unit provided services to Iran and Sudan between 2004 and 2010 and tried to hide the fact from authorities.
While Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings, incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, was allowed to work in both Iran and Sudan, the Department said the US Drilling and Measurements unit was not.
Justice authorities said the company as well tried to hide the fact that the US unit was doing the work.
"Over a period of years, Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings Ltd. conducted business with Iran and Sudan from the United States and took steps to disguise those business dealings, thereby willfully violating the US economic sanctions against those regimes,” said John Carlin, US assistant attorney general for national security.
"The guilty plea and significant financial penalty in this case underscore that skirting sanctions for financial gain is a risk corporations ought not take," he said in a statement.
The penalty includes Schlumberger forfeiting $77.6 million of the unit's earnings from its Iran and Sudan business, and a $155.1 million criminal fine, the largest ever for a violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.