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In the Matter of Helmerich & Payne, Inc., Respondent

 
:
Helmerich & Payne, Inc.
:
SEC Civil
:
July 30, 2009
:
In the Matter of Helmerich & Payne, Inc., Respondent
:
In contrast to the parallel DOJ action, the SEC did not impose on H&P an obligation to review and modify its internal compliance program to avoid future violations.
:
Energy (Non-Utility)-Oil & Gas-Exploration/Production
:
Argentina, Venezuela
:
2003; 2004; 2005; 2006; 2007; 2008
:
Customs officials in Argentina and Venezuela
:
H&P settled this action with the SEC without admitting or denying the following facts alleged in the SEC's order. From 2003 to 2008, H&P's Argentine subsidiary, Helmerich & Payne (Argentina) Drilling Company ("H&P Argentina") and its Venezuelan subsidiary, Helmerich & Payne de Venezuela, C.A. ("H&P Venezuela") allegedly made improper payments through their customs brokers to customs officials in Argentina and Venezuela to allow and expedite the importation and exportation of equipment and materials that were not in compliance with the regulations of those countries.

According to the SEC, between 2004 and 2008, H&P Argentina paid Argentine customs officials indirectly through their customs brokers approximately $166,000, which enabled H&P Argentina to avoid approximately $186,000 in expenses it would have incurred had it properly imported and exported the equipment and materials. The customs brokers disguised those corrupt payments on their invoices to H&P Argentina as "additional assessments," "extra costs" or "extraordinary expenses."

Between 2003 and 2008, H&P Venezuela paid Venezuelan customs officials indirectly through their customs brokers approximately $19,673, which enabled H&P Venezuela to avoid approximately $134,000 in expenses it would have incurred had it properly imported and exported the equipment and materials. The customs brokers disguised those corrupt payments on their invoices to H&P Venezuela as "urgent processing," "urgent dispatch" or "customs processing."

An H&P employee disclosed the existence of these payments during one of the company's FCPA training workshops in early 2008, which triggered an internal investigation into the company's Latin American subsidiaries' customs payment practices. After completing that investigation, H&P voluntarily reported its initial findings to the DOJ and the SEC.
:
Books and records (Issuer), Internal controls (Issuer)
:
Fine, Injunction/Cease and desist
:
Disgorgement of $320,604, plus $55,077.22 in prejudgment interest. Also paid $1 million fine to DOJ.
:
375,000
:
0
:
Issuer
:
U.S.
:
Customs Clearance
:
320,000
:
Wire/check
:
Customs Broker or Agent/Consultant, Direct
:
185,673
:
Argentina, Venezuela
:
No