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.
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.
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.’