Wood settles after self-reporting Kazakhstan payment

Aberdeen-based engineering group Wood plc said on Tuesday its subsidiary WGPSN (Holdings) has reached a civil settlement with Scotland’s Civil Recovery Unit “in relation to the historical engagement of Unaoil by a legacy joint venture and potential unlawful conduct.”

Wood said in a stock exchange statement: “The civil settlement relates to conduct in Kazakhstan in the period between 2008 and 2010.

“A joint venture in the legacy PSN business, which was acquired by Wood in 2011, paid Unaoil a total of 1,358 million Kazakhstan Tenge (then approximately US$8.74m) in fees.

“Payments were on a commission basis and continued until 2015 although there is limited evidence of what services Unaoil provided for these fees.  

The settlement concludes the issue which started after Wood self-reported having conducted a thorough internal investigation, before cooperating fully with COPFS and the Civil Recovery Unit throughout their investigation.

“Under the terms of the settlement, Wood has agreed to pay a total of £6.46 million (c.$9 million) to COPFS.”

Wood CEO Robin Watson said: “The investigation shone a light on behaviour that was quite simply unacceptable.

“While we didn’t own the business until 2011, we take responsibility for dealing with the consequences and have taken steps to further strengthen our culture and processes to ensure it does not happen again.

“We continue to insist on the highest standards of integrity in every country and community in which we operate.”

Wood chairman Roy Franklin said: “Having self-reported on the issue, we conducted a thorough investigation into the matter.

“I am confident that the historic engagement in one part of the PSN business does not reflect the values of Wood, past or present, or our people.

“The settlement underlines why we attach such importance to upholding the highest standards of ethics and compliance, and we continue to strengthen our governance in this area.”