Albemarle to pay more than $218 million to settle bribery probe, U.S. says

by | Sep 29, 2023 | Business

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Albemarle Corp will pay more than $218 million, including more than $103 million to financial regulators, to settle a U.S. probe into its scheme to bribe government officials in multiple foreign countries, the Department of Justice said on Friday.

As part of the resolution, the global chemical company admitted to using third parties “to pay bribes to government officials to obtain and retain chemical catalyst business with state-owned oil refineries in Vietnam, Indonesia, and India,” taking in $98.5 million in profits, the department said.

It also agreed to continue to cooperate with the Justice Department “in any ongoing or future criminal investigations relating to this conduct,” it added.

“Albemarle’s eventual voluntary disclosure of fraud and subsequent efforts to remedy its business practices abroad are a step in the right direction for the company,” U.S. Attorney Dena King for the Western District of North Carolina said in a statement.

“The actions taken by a limited number of former employees and third-party sales representatives happened years ago … Those responsible for these past actions were held to account and separated years ago,” Albemarle said in a statement to Reuters.

Albemarle entered into a three-year non-prosecution agreement as part of the settlement, and the Justice Department agreed to credit part of the forfeiture to pay the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC).

As part of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation, the SEC separately charged that “despite significant red flags,” the company violated the law by using agents between 2009 and 2017 who paid bribes in the three countries.

Albemarle also agreed to cease and desist from any future violations as part of the settlement, the SEC added.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey;Editing by Mark Potter and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)


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