A chemicals company pleaded guilty in Washington federal court today to paying kickbacks and bribes to the former Iraqi government and to violating the U.S. embargo against Cuba, Justice Department officials said.
Innospec Inc. pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to an information that charged wire fraud and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. DOJ officials said Innospec bribed officials in the Iraqi Ministry of Oil to secure sales of the chemical tetraethyl lead. Innospec also admitted to selling chemicals to Cuban power plants, according to the Justice Department.
The department said Innospec, which manufactured and sold fuel and power-related chemicals such as gasoline additives, agreed to pay a $14.1 million criminal fine and to retain an independent compliance monitor for at least three years to supervise a “robust” anti-corruption and export control compliance program. Innospec’s executive headquarters are in the United Kingdom. The guilty plea was part of an overall $40.2 million settlement that includes charges in the U.K.
“Fraud and corruption cannot be viewed simply as a cost of doing business,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in a statement. “By continuing to work with our U.S. and foreign law enforcement partners to hold companies accountable for their criminal conduct, we level the playing field for everyone.”
A lawyer for Innospec, Laurence Urgenson, a partner in Kirkland & Ellis’ Washington office, was not immediately reached for comment this afternoon about the company’s guilty plea.
Justice officials said Innospec settled a civil complaint today filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission that charged the company with violating the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, among other things. Innospec agreed to give up $11.2 million in profit to the SEC and to pay $2.2 million to resolve outstanding matters tied to the U.S. embargo against Cuba.