Another round in the fine proliferation race between OFAC, BIS and DDTC was played out today as the the BIS website trumpeted in headline typeface usually reserved for announcing the end of the world by impending asteroid collision (WORLD ENDS TOMORROW!!) the following news:

Texas Company to Pay $100 Million for Export Violations to

Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Other Countries

Fine is largest civil penalty ever levied by the Bureau of Industry and Security

You can almost see the Wild West sheriffs at BIS blow the smoke away from the barrels of their pistols before re-holstering them, pocketing their own $50 million share of the fine, and striding into the saloon to slam down a shot of celebratory whiskey. “That oughta show them fellers at OFAC who are the real tough guys around this town,” you can hear them muttering. (The other $50 million is going to pay criminal fines imposed as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of Texas.)

But seriously, what is the point in boasting about the size of the fine as if this were a contest or a sports event? Is somebody giving out prizes for the largest fish caught each year?

The company involved was Weatherford International, and we’ve been writing about their export woes and this investigation since 2007. See here and here.

OFAC also announced its penalty against Weatherford today, albeit in much more restrained tones. The announcement details $60 million in sales to Cuba and $23 million in sales to Iran. It also paints a picture of a company that was wilfully unconcerned with its obligations under U.S. export and sanctions laws.

Interestingly, and perhaps as a gesture of noblesse oblige to their colleagues at BIS, OFAC noted that payment of the $100 million in fines to BIS and under the deferred prosecution agreement would satisfy the $91,026,450 fine separately imposed under the terms of the settlement agreement between Weatherford and OFAC.