Texas Oil Drilling Firm Sued over Bribes in Saudi Arabia, Libya, 7 Other Countries

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Lousi A. Raspino, President and CEO of Pride International

One of the world’s largest offshore drillers, Houston-based Pride International, has been accused of bribing governments all over the world, according to a shareholder lawsuit. The corporation announced on February 16 that it was creating a $56 million fund to cover penalties for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Kazakhstan, Angola, Mexico, Brazil and the Republic of the Congo.

A Pride internal investigation in 2008 admitted to the payment of $4 million in bribes in the nine countries. The current lawsuit alleges that the $56-million fund will not cover all the costs relating to the investigation and remedying of illegal activities and that the board of directors of Pride should be personally held responsible for shareholder losses.
A former top company executive, Bobby Benton, was charged in December by the Securities and Exchange Commission with paying bribes to officials in Mexico and Venezuela.
Pride International has been under investigation by the federal government since 2001 for improper dealings with foreign countries.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Bribery a Way of Life for Driller, Says Suit (by Cameron Langford, Courthouse News Service)
Pride International Lawsuit (District Court, Harris County, Texas) (pdf)
SEC v. Bobby Benton (U.S. District Court, Houston Division, Texas) (pdf)
Pride Shareholders Investigating Company Executives (by Christopher M. Matthews, Main Justice)


Mohamed Bugaighis 9 years ago
In the days prior to Gaddafi's seizure on the reigns of government in Libya, bribery was rare if ever. Nowadays, it is common place in Libya, where government officials view their limited time in government positions as time to loot the treasury, not to serve the country. Bribery's damaging effect reaches beyond the briber and bribee. For example, in the case of the Texas Drilling Firm, having paid millions of dollars in illegal bribes, would recoup their losses by increasing the cost of their products; hence thousands, if not millions of potential customers, are saddled with higher fuel costs. Bribery should be viewed as criminal offence; excusing it as a third world practice is totally unacceptable; those who give in to bribery are are more guilty than those who receive it.

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