Wood Group merger target Amec Foster Wheeler has confirmed it is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office over possible bribery and corruption through payments to middlemen.
Amec Foster Wheeler issued a statement last night confirming the formal launch of the inquiry into its dealings with Unaoil.
On 23 May the company admitted a probe was likely when it published documents relating to its £2.2 billion merger with Aberdeen based Wood Group. Amec Foster Wheeler said it was co-operating with the SFO.
Last night the company confirmed it has been informed by the SFO that it has now opened an investigation into Amec Foster Wheeler, predecessor companies and associated persons in respect of the Foster Wheeler business. The investigation focuses on the past use of third parties and possible bribery and corruption and related offences.
It said it “takes its obligation to conduct business ethically very seriously and has in place a robust global anti-bribery programme, including a detailed code of conduct and anti-bribery and corruption policies. Amec Foster Wheeler continues fully to co-operate with and assist the SFO.
“Given the stage of this matter, it is not possible to estimate reliably what effect the outcome of it may have on Amec Foster Wheeler. However, the SFO’s investigation is not expected to have an impact on the completion of the merger of Amec Foster Wheeler and John Wood Group, which is expected to take place in the fourth quarter of this year.”
Unaoil is at the centre of a global corruption scandal with allegations that it paid bribes to secure deals. Oil services group Petrofac has already been drawn into the scandal with its executives questioned by the SFO, though the company has said previously it has not found any evidence of wrongdoing. It suspended a director who also resigned from the board.
Wood Group, which is not being investigated is conducting an internal investigation into its own dealings with Unaoil. It issued a statement this morning noting the latest developments.
It said: “As announced by Amec Foster Wheeler, the investigation focuses on the past use of third parties and possible bribery and corruption and related offences.
“In its circular and prospectus published on 23 May 2017, the company disclosed that information previously provided by Amec Foster Wheeler to the SFO related to matters that may well develop into an investigation into Amec Foster Wheeler by the SFO.
“As stated in those documents, and as disclosed by Amec Foster Wheeler yesterday, it is not possible to estimate reliably what effect the outcome of this matter may have on Amec Foster Wheeler.”