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SEC Probes 5 Oil Companies

August 07, 2004|From Associated Press

The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining payments by five big U.S. oil firms to officials of Equatorial Guinea and businesses they controlled, as government inquiries related to Riggs Bank proliferate.

Spokesmen for the companies -- Amerada Hess Corp., ChevronTexaco Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp. and Devon Energy Corp. -- confirmed the preliminary investigation.

At issue is whether U.S. anti-bribery laws were broken. This year, in the course of examining account transactions at Riggs, a unit of Riggs National Corp., Senate investigators discovered large payments made by the oil companies to officials of Equatorial Guinea. That raised concerns about possible corruption.

The oil companies say they have strictly abided by U.S. anti-bribery laws. "Our policy is for all ChevronTexaco employees to fully comply with the law at all times," spokesman Stan Luckoski said.

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