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French Court Fines Oil Giant Total For Iran Bribery


The executive in charge of Middle East exploration at the time of the payments was Christophe de Margerie, who later became Total's CEO before dying in Moscow plane crash in 2014.

A French court has fined oil giant Total 500,000 euros ($575,000) after finding it guilty of paying bribes while bidding for a huge gas-field contract in Iran 10 years ago.

The French company was accused of paying $30 million to middlemen in 1997 in return for help in securing the rights to the South Pars natural-gas field.

In all, Total was suspected of paying a total of $60 million in bribes between 1995 and 2004 for the South Pars deal, and others.

But the company was only tried for the $30 million it paid in connection with South Pars after 2000, when a new French anticorruption law came into effect.

The company paid $398 million in 2013 to U.S. authorities to settle similar charges.

The executive in charge of Middle East exploration at the time of the payments was Christophe de Margerie, who later became Total's CEO.

He was under investigation as part of the scandal when he died in a plane crash in Moscow in 2014.

South Pars is one of the world's largest gas fields.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP
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