YARA International has been fined by the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim) for bribes paid in Libya, Russia and India. Globalpost.com reports today that between 2004 and 2009, the world's largest nitrogen supplier paid more than $12 million, and Økokrim has found the company guilty.
YARA admitted to the infractions on Wednesday and have agreed to pay the fine, but some individuals within the company may still be subject to prosecution.
"This is a serious case. Both the company's external investigation and the Økokrim investigation has uncovered unacceptable and disappointing behaviour. We have throughout the process cooperated with Økokrim and given them access to all material," said Jørgen Ole Haslestad, President and Chief Executive Officer of Yara. "The incidents in question took place several years ago. We have since invested considerably in our compliance processes, based on our clear zero tolerance for corruption. Most importantly we have worked with culture and attitudes to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future."
The fine of NOK 270 million is related to historical irregularities linked to the establishment of Lifeco (Libya), an unrealized project in India and Yara's activities in Switzerland. In addition Økokrim has imposed a confiscation of NOK 25 million related to earlier phosphate deliveries.
"Our acknowledgment of guilt and acceptance of a fine reflect that the Økokrim findings are in line with those of our own investigation. The penalty is severe, but we accept it," said Bernt Reitan, Chairman of the Board of Yara International ASA.
The fertilizer giant has operations in fifty different nations and supplies nutrient to 150 different countries.