PARIS - An official investigation has been opened against BOURBON Offshore, alleging bribery of public officials in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria in connection with the tax audits of local entities in 2011 and 2012.
The investigation stems from the October 2012 arrest of a then-BOURBON Offshore tax manager. The employee was arrested at the Marseille-Provence Airport, where the employee was returning from Africa with around 190,000 euros in cash. The French company said that the tax manager was immediately dismissed and was later placed under formal investigation, under suspicion of bribery of foreign public officials.
After the former tax manager was placed under formal investigation, some members of the executive management were placed under formal investigation in April and November 2013 for complicity in bribery, BOURBON said.
As a consequence, BOURBON SA has now been placed under formal investigation for the same charge, together with a guarantee of 1 million euros.
In a statement, BOURBON said that the company strongly contests the charges brought against them, and notes that they are entitled to the presumption of innocence and will reserve their explanations for the judicial authorities.
“The group operates in complex environments. Its activities are carried out in strict compliance with the laws of each country and Bourbon attaches great importance to compliance with anti-bribery regulations. Moreover, these events have encouraged the group to strengthen its policies, procedures and training programs in relation to ethics and compliance and in particular those regarding the fight against bribery,” the company said.