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NORWAY: Former Statoil executive to pay fine over Iran deal

Wall Street Journal
October 19th, 2004

The former head of international operations for Statoil ASA, Richard Hubbard, will follow his former employer's lead and pay a fine handed down by Norwegian police for his role in a business deal with an Iranian consulting company, his lawyers said Monday.

The national economic crime police, Oekokrim, ordered fines in June after finding that a $15.2 million consulting deal that Statoil made with Iran's Horton Investment Ltd. in June 2002 was part of an attempt to improperly influence Iranian oil officials.

Last week, Statoil said it would pay its NOK20 million ($3 million) fine without admitting or denying guilt, rather than prolonging the case in court.

On Monday, Hubbard agreed to pay his own NOK200,000 ($30,300) for the same reasons.

"After careful consideration, the decision is to accept the fine to put an end to this drawn-out case," his lawyers said in a statement.

Hubbard, then-board chairman Leif Terje Loeddesoel and chief executive Olav Fjell resigned in September 2003 during the investigation for possible corruption .

The consulting contract was with Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, the son of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, though his name didn't appear in the paperwork, investigators said. That led to an investigation of the funds possibly being used to influence Iranian public officials.

Statoil canceled the contract on Sept. 10, 2003, and has said that the deal violated its internal ethical standards.

Hubbard's lawyers, the Oslo firm of Stenberg-Nilsen, Christophersen & Lyngtvei, said their client couldn't see that he did anything wrong.

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