SEC accuses Bristow Group Inc of corruption

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I've been sent the following press release:

Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2007 - The Securities and Exchange Commission
today announced the institution of a settled enforcement action against
Bristow Group Inc., a Houston-based and New York Stock Exchange-listed
helicopter transportation services and oil and gas production facilities
operation company, for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
(FCPA). Among other things, the FCPA prohibits bribery of foreign
government officials.

The Commission's Order finds that a Nigerian affiliate of Bristow Group
made improper payments to Nigerian state government officials in return for
the officials' reduction of the affiliate's employment taxes owed to the
Nigerian state governments. The Order also finds that the same affiliate
and another Nigerian affiliate of Bristow Group also underreported their
expatriate payroll expenses in Nigeria.

"The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it unlawful for public companies
to make improper payments to foreign government officials," said David
Nelson, Director of the Commission's Miami Regional Office. "Illicit
payments to foreign government officials violate U.S. law and detract from
the legitimate results of fair and merit-based competition."

Without admitting or denying the Commission's allegations, Bristow Group
consented to entry of an Administrative Order that requires Bristow Group
to cease and desist from committing violations of the antibribery, internal
controls and books and records provisions of the Securities and Exchange
Act of 1934 (Exchange Act).

The Order finds that:

Since at least 2003 and through approximately the end of 2004,
Bristow Group's Nigerian affiliate Pan African Airlines Nigeria Ltd.
(PAAN) made improper payments totaling approximately $423,000 to
employees of the governments of two Nigerian states to influence them
to improperly reduce the amount of expatriate employment taxes
payable by PAAN to the respective Nigerian state governments.

PAAN was responsible for paying an annual expatriate "Pay As You
Earn" (PAYE) tax to the Nigerian state governments in each state
where PAAN operated. At the end of each year, the government of each
Nigerian state assessed a tax on the salaries of PAAN employees in
that state and sent PAAN a demand letter. PAAN then negotiated with
the government tax officials to lower the amount assessed. In each
instance, the PAYE tax demand amount was lowered and a separate cash
payment amount for the tax officials was negotiated. Once PAAN paid
the state government and the tax officials, each state government
provided PAAN with a receipt reflecting only the amount payable to
the state government.

During the same time period, Bristow Group underreported PAAN and
another Bristow Group Nigerian affiliate's payroll expenses to
certain Nigerian state governments. As a result, Bristow Group's
periodic reports filed with the Commission did not accurately reflect
certain of the company's payroll-related expenses.

Further, the Order finds that during the same time period, Bristow Group
lacked sufficient internal controls. Finally, the Order finds that Bristow
Group mischaracterized the payments as legitimate payroll expenses.

The Order requires Bristow Group to cease and desist from committing or
causing any violations and any future violations of Sections 30A, 13(a),
13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1 and
13a-13 thereunder. Bristow Group cooperated with the Commission's
investigation and took a number of remedial steps as reflected in the
Commission's Order.

# # #

For more information, contact:

Glenn S. Gordon
Associate Regional Director
SEC's Miami Regional Office
305-982-6360

Eric R. Busto
Assistant Regional Director
SEC's Miami Regional Office
305-982-6362

Now who was reporting that the US is towards the top of the 'clean league' and Nigeria towards the bottom today? Doesn't this show it's just a matter of to where you choose to export your corruption?