Litigation Release No. 21724 / November 4, 2010

Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release No. 3201 / November 4, 2010

Securities and Exchange Commission v. GlobalSantaFe Corp., Civil Action No. 1:10-CV-01890 (RMC) (D.D.C.)


The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged GlobalSantaFe Corp. (GSF) (c/k/a Transocean Worldwide Inc.) with bribery and other violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

According to the SEC’s complaint, filed today in federal district court in Washington, D.C., from approximately January 2002 through July 2007, GSF made illegal payments to officials of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), through companies acting as customs brokers for GSF. In November 2007, GSF, an oil and gas drilling services company, merged with a subsidiary of Transocean Inc. In December 2008, the listed company became Transocean Ltd. 

GSF will pay a total of approximately $5.9 million dollars to settle the SEC’s charges. 

The SEC complaint alleges that instead of moving its oil drilling rigs out of Nigerian waters as required by Nigerian law when GSF’s permit to temporarily import the rigs into Nigeria had expired, GSF, through its customs brokers, made illegal payments to NCS officials to secure documentation reflecting that the rigs had moved out of Nigerian waters, when in fact, the rigs had not moved at all.

The SEC alleges that GSF, through its customs brokers, made other suspicious payments, some characterized as “interventions,” to Nigerian customs officials. In addition, GSF similarly made a number of suspicious payments to government officials in Gabon, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea. These payments were described on invoices as, for example, “customs vacation,” “customs escort,” “costs extra police to obtain visa,” “official dues,” and “authorities fees.” None of the payments were accurately reflected in GSF’s books and records, nor was GSF’s system of internal accounting controls adequate at the time to detect and prevent these illegal payments. 

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, GSF has consented to the entry of a court order permanently enjoining it from violating the anti-bribery and record keeping and internal controls provisions in Section 30A and Sections 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act. GSF also consented to the entry of a court order requiring GSF to pay disgorgement of $2,694,405, prejudgment interest of $1,063,760, and a civil penalty of $2.1 million. The proposed settlement is subject to court approval.

The SEC acknowledges and appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice, Fraud Section and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

See Also: SEC Complaint


Last modified: 11/04/2010