Bourbon in bribery case investigation (France)

Bourbon Offshore, a France-based supplier of offshore support vessels, has said that its former tax manager is being investigated for allegations of bribery of public officials in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria in connection with the tax audits of local entities in 2011 and 2012. The company itself is now under investigation too.

The company’s former tax manager had been fired following the arrest at the airport of Marseille-Provence while he was returning from Africa in possession of approximately 190,000 euros in cash in October 2012.

A formal judicial investigation has now been initiated in Marseille, in particular for bribery of foreign public officials.

“As a consequence, the legal entity Bourbon SA has today been placed under formal investigation for the same charge, together with a guarantee of 1 million euros,” Bourbon said in a statement yeterday.

“Pursuant to this procedure, 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 has said.

The company said that, together with its Executive Management, it very strongly contests the charges brought against them, and Bourbon also highlighted the fact 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 added.

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