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CNOOC denies involvement in US firm bribery case
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China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Saturday denied involvement in a bribery case of a U.S. firm, which admitted to the U.S. authority it had bribed some Chinese firms, including CNOOC.

A CNOOC official, who spoke to Xinhua on condition of anonymity, said no one inside the company has been found to have accepted bribery from the U.S. firm or its sales agents, according to an internal investigation of the Chinese company.

The comment came after China's English-language newspaper the Global Times reported Friday that Control Components Inc. (CCI), a valve manufacturer based in California, admitted paying bribes to employees of China's big state-owned enterprises including PetroChina and CNOOC, citing the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The CNOOC official said the company started to investigate the bribery claims as early as in April when its involvement in the case was first announced by the U.S. justice department.

Its investigation showed that among all business transactions between the U.S. firm and the Chinese company's related projects, 11 in total, from 2002 to 2009, no violation was found against regulations or procedures of the Chinese company, said the CNOOC official.

In addition, all staff and officials involved in the transactions had vowed, in written pledges, to have violated no rules against commercial bribery, according to the official.

The official added that the U.S. firm had somewhat backed up investigation results of the Chinese company.

In a reply to the CNOOC on June 22, in response to a request from the Chinese firm for a joint investigation, CCI said that "payments involved had been wired to personal accounts of CCI staff or friends and relatives of CCI staff."

"There is no evidence indicating that briberies paid by the CCI had landed in hands of CNOOC staff, or that staff of CNOOC had voluntarily asked for a bribery," according to the CCI's reply.

CCI has informed the DOJ of the above assertions, according to the CNOOC official.

CCI admitted that from 2003 through 2007, it made approximately 236 payments in violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the Travel Act in more than 30 countries, which resulted in net profits to the company of approximately 46.5 million U.S. dollars from sales related to those corrupt payments.

The U.S. firm pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a criminal fine of 18.2 million U.S. dollars on July 31.

Six former CCI executives were charged in a 16-count indictment for violating the FCPA, the Travel Act, and other statutes on April 8. They are scheduled to go on trial December 8.

(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2009)

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