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Tuesday
Apr302013

Total, CEO face French criminal case

The Total building (Total HQ) in la Défense near Paris, France (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)Here's the disclosure from Total SA's Form 6-K (Report of Foreign Private Issuer) filed with the SEC on April 29, 2013 dealing with a criminal investigation in France of the company, its chairman and CEO, and other employees:

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Several countries have launched investigations concerning possible violations related to the United Nations (UN) Oil-for-Food Program in Iraq.

Pursuant to a French criminal investigation, certain current or former Group Employees were placed under formal criminal investigation for possible charges as accessories to the misappropriation of Corporate assets and as accessories to the corruption of foreign public agents. The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, formerly President of the Group’s Exploration & Production division, was also placed under formal investigation in October 2006. In 2007, the criminal investigation was closed and the case was transferred to the Prosecutor’s office. In 2009, the Prosecutor’s office recommended to the investigating magistrate that the case against the Group’s current and former employees and TOTAL’s Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer not be pursued.

In early 2010, despite the recommendation of the Prosecutor’s office, a new investigating magistrate, having taken over the case, decided to indict TOTAL S.A. on bribery charges as well as complicity and influence peddling. The indictment was brought eight years after the beginning of the investigation without any new evidence being introduced.

In October 2010, the Prosecutor’s office recommended to the investigating magistrate that the case against TOTAL S.A., the Group’s current and former employees and TOTAL’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer not be pursued. However, by ordinance notified in early August 2011, the investigating magistrate on the matter decided to send the case to trial. The hearings started on January 21, 2013 and ended on February 20, 2013. The judgment of the Criminal Court is expected to be rendered on July 8, 2013.

The Company believes that its activities related to the Oil-for-Food Program have been in compliance with this program, as organized by the UN in 1996.

The Volcker report released by the independent investigating Committee set up by the UN discarded any grounds for bribery within the framework of the Oil-for-Food Program with respect to TOTAL.

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