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24 January 2013

Energy firm slapped with multi-million bribery charge

A Calgary-based energy company has been hit with a record C$10.3 million fine after admitting to paying massive bribes to officials in oil-rich Chad.

By James Barnes

Big fine for cowboy approach to corruption

Big fine for cowboy approach to corruption

Griffiths Energy International pleaded guilty to a bribery charge under the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act on Tuesday, reports Canadian newspaper the National Post.

Serious offence

GEI owned up to paying C$2m to officials in Chad to gain an advantage in two exploration blocks in the oil-rich African country.
Christine Robidoux of Canadian law firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson is representing GEI. She said the amount is ‘not trifling’ andthe company’s current management agrees the offence is serious. The fine is expected to be confirmed on Friday.
The bribes were exposed following the death of GEI founder and legendary cowboy financier Brad Griffiths in 2011. According to the report, GEI’s new management discovered irregularities in its contracts in Chad while conducting due diligence, and then launched a five-month investigation, costing C$5m.

Flotation ditched

As the evidence began to build, a planned public share flotation was ditched, costing the company a further C$1.8m.
‘We delivered the case neatly, organised and ready for prosecution,’ Ms. Robidoux said in court. ‘There is a commitment to doing business differently than was the case under previous management.’

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