The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged a former chief executive at Innospec Inc. (IOSP) with allegedly approving bribes to government officials in Iraq to obtain and retain business.
The agency alleges Paul W. Jennings first learned of the chemical company's practice of paying bribes to win orders for sales of tetraethyl lead in 2004 while serving as chief financial officer. After becoming chief executive in 2005, Jennings and other Innospec managers allegedly approved bribery payments to officials at the Iraqi Ministry of Oil in order to sell the fuel additive to Iraq refineries.
According to the SEC's complaint filed in District Court for the District of Columbia, Jennings allegedly played "a key role" in Innospec's bribery activities in Iraq and Indonesia. For example, the SEC alleges Innospec made payments totaling more than $1.6 million and promised an additional $884,480 to Iraqi Ministry of Oil officials. It was further alleged Jennings signed documents where he falsely stated he complied with Innospec's Code of Ethics incorporating the company's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act policy.
Jennings has consented, without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations, to the entry of a final judgment, and will disgorge $116,092 plus prejudgment interest of $12,945. He will also pay a penalty of $100,000 that takes into consideration Jennings's cooperation in the matter.
The charges against Jennings are the third enforcement action against an Innospec individual involving bribery allegations. The company itself last year pleaded guilty to bribing Iraqi officials and violating the U.S. embargo on Cuba as part of a $40.2 million global settlement.
-By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480; email@example.com