RBS and Weatherford have reached major settlements with US authorities to resolve alleged violations of US sanctions and anti-bribery laws.

Weatherford settlement: one of the largest settlements outside the banking industry

Weatherford International Ltd., a prominent oil and natural gas company, and a number of its subsidiaries and affiliates (Weatherford) reached a settlement for more than USD 250 million with US authorities. Weatherford was accused of violating multiple laws. Allegedly, Weatherford violated the FCPA in 2002 and 2011 by falsifying its books and records and concealing unlawful payments. In addition, Weatherford violated the sanctions law during the period of 1998 and 2007 by conducting commercial transactions with sanctioned countries including Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan.

This settlement is one of the largest settlements with US authorities in recent years for the violation of US anti-bribery and sanctions laws outside the banking industry. Weatherford reached a settlement with multiple US authorities, such as the US Department of Justice, the Securities Exchange Commission and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

RBS fined USD 100 million for violating US sanctions laws

The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc. (RBS) reached a settlement of USD 100 million with the OFAC and other federal and state government agencies for violating US sanctions law from 2005 to 2009. According to the OFAC, RBS enabled financial transactions to sanctioned countries, including Iran, Sudan, Myanmar and Cuba. RBS reportedly established and implemented an internal procedure to conceal these transactions. As part of the procedure, RBS reportedly instructed its employees to refrain from mentioning the name of the sanctioned country and the names designated on the OFAC restricted list in the payment.

Aside from RBS, various other banks reached settlements with the US authorities for violating the US sanctions laws in recent years. These banks include Lloyds TSB Bank Plc and Credit Suisse in 2009, Barclays and ABN Amro in 2010, and Standard Chartered (see also the RCE Newsletter February 2013) in 2012.