Telegraph: BP Dragged Into UK Bribery Probe

LONDON - BP PLC may face charges from the U.K.'s main anti-bribery agency due to a new, stricter U.K. corruption law that could make the oil giant liable for alleged wrongdoing by one of its contractors, the Daily Telegraph reports Monday.

Investigators from the Serious Fraud Office have contacted BP over bribery allegations relating to engineering projects one of its contractors is undertaking in Azerbaijan, the Telegraph reports, without citing sources. The paper doesn't identify the contractor.

BP and the SFO both declined to comment on the investigation.

According to the Telegraph, the contractor self-reported the allegation to the SFO after it was discovered. Although no BP employees are believed to have paid bribes, the oil company could face prosecution if the alleged wrongdoing took place after July 1 when the new Bribery Act came into force. The revised law makes a firm criminally liable for acts undertaken by its employees, its agents and contractors.

BP is a major investor in the giant $25 billion Shah Deniz project to develop and pipe natural gas from the Caspian Sea to western Europe. However, the SFO investigation pertains to previous work oil and gas pipeline engineering work BP has undertaken in the west Asian state, the Telegraph reports.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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