United States: Weatherford Settlements: Integrated FCPA And Trade Controls Enforcement Actions Highlight The Importance Of Integrated Compliance, Suggest Expanding SEC Enforcement Efforts

On November 26, 2013, Weatherford International Ltd., a Swiss-based oilfield services company with significant operations in Houston, Texas, and a number of its overseas subsidiaries (Weatherford or the Company), comprehensively settled long-running Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), export controls and economic sanctions (foreign trade controls) investigations with five separate US law enforcement agencies.  Those concurrent settlements resulted in two Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) and a settled civil complaint filed in US District Court against the parent company, three criminal plea agreements with Company subsidiaries, two administrative settlements, over $252 million in monetary sanctions and two compliance monitoring arrangements to which the Company will be subject for up to three years.

These settlements, long anticipated, break new ground in a number of respects.  They collectively represent the most significant resolutions to date in which FCPA, export controls and sanctions violations have been concurrently resolved1, and mark the first time that foreign trade control violations have been resolved through a settlement structure common in recent FCPA cases.  They include the largest combined foreign trade control-related fines and penalties levied against any company outside of the financial services and defense industries, even though most of the violations appear to have occurred before October 2007, when monetary penalties regarding most foreign trade control violations were enhanced.  Significantly, these actions remind foreign companies knowingly transshipping or diverting basic US-origin items to prohibited destinations and engaging in activity to evade or conceal such trade, and US persons facilitating, supporting, or providing services to embargoed countries or users, that they can be criminally prosecuted for such actions.

They also mark the first time that the SEC has used the FCPA's accounting provisions to charge foreign commercial bribery and foreign trade control violations, in addition to bribery of foreign public officials, and the first time that the SEC has alleged violations of the FCPA's internal control provisions in connection with the diversion of company funds, some of which are kept for the employees' personal benefit as well as used to make payments to foreign officials.

Consequently, it may be that the enforcement agencies intend the Weatherford settlements to serve as a counterexample to recent FCPA charging decisions, where the agencies have declined to bring enforcement actions altogether (for example in the recent Morgan Stanley/Peterson matter), or brought only civil actions in connection with conduct that could be charged criminally, such as with respect to Wyeth LLC in the recent Pfizer/Wyeth settlements (for the Steptoe International Law Advisories addressing Morgan Stanley/Peterson and Pfizer/Wyeth settlements, click here and here, respectively).  At the very least these settlements highlight the increasing incidence of cases that involve conduct that raises issues under multiple enforcement regimes, and emphasize the need for companies to ensure that their compliance efforts cover the relevant range of risks.

The Settlements

FCPA

The Company entered into the following FCPA-related settlements with the DOJ and SEC:

  • DPA and Criminal Plea Agreement. The parent company, Weatherford International Ltd., entered into a three-year DPA with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), charging criminal violations of the FCPA's internal control provisions2, in connection with its knowing failure to implement internal accounting controls sufficient to detect and prevent bribery in its and various subsidiaries' operations in Africa and the Middle East.  Weatherford Services Ltd. (WSL), a Company subsidiary doing business in Africa, agreed to plead guilty to a one-count criminal information alleging violations of the FCPA's anti-bribery provisions in connection with its activities in Angola.  These combined criminal resolutions resulted in $87.2 million in criminal fines, and an 18-month compliance monitorship followed by an additional 18-month self-monitoring period.

    The FCPA internal control-related DPA includes three sets of conduct leading to the criminal internal control charges, in addition to the Company's failure to maintain adequate anti-corruption controls generally.  First, between 2004 and 2006, Africa- and Houston-based Company executives, including in-house counsel at the time, approved the entry by WSL into a joint venture in Angola with two local companies that they knew to be beneficially owned by senior executives of Sonangol, the Angolan state-owned oil company, and close relatives of senior Angolan government officials, while being nominally owned by unrelated nominee shareholders.  The Company conducted no due diligence on the joint venture companies, despite the fact that Company executives knew that the purpose of the joint venture was to make payments to the beneficial owners of the joint venture companies in exchange for Weatherford capturing up to 100% of the Angolan market for well screens.  Company in-house counsel sought outside legal advice regarding the arrangement, but failed to follow counsel's initial compliance-related recommendations, and subsequently falsely represented to separate outside counsel that the Angolan joint venture had already been vetted and approved externally.   As a result, Sonangol officials awarded substantial business to WSL in Angola, including after canceling contracts already won by competitors, despite the fact that WSL's bids in some cases were not price-competitive. 

    Separately in Angola in 2006, Company executives also approved the entry into a third party agent relationship with a Swiss-based freight forwarder for the purpose paying up to $250,000 to a Sonangol official who had demanded the payment in return for re-approving an existing WSL contract due for renewal.  The Company entered into the agreement and authorized the payments despite the fact that it had conducted no due diligence on the arrangement, and that the freight forwarder had objected to an FCPA-related clause in the agency agreement as not compatible with the "nature of the business" to which the agreement related, which in-house counsel at the time also approved.  WSL and freight forwarder personnel created false invoices and work orders to justify the payments, which resulted in Sonangol's approval of the contract in question.  

    The Company also failed to conduct any due diligence before entering into a distributor relationship in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, despite the fact that the distributor relationship exhibited a number of "red flags".  Those "red flags" included the fact that the local Weatherford subsidiary had been directed to sell products to the national oil company by that company's executives through that specific distributor, and that Company executives knew that a member of that country's royal family maintained an ownership interest in the distributor.  Although few sales were made through this arrangement between 2001 and 2005, from 2005-2011 – including during the period when Weatherford was under active investigation -- Company executives approved "volume discounts" on product sales to the distributor that they understood would be used to create a "slush fund" with which to make payments to officials of the national oil company to facilitate sales.  Weatherford realized significant profits from this arrangement from 2005-2011.

    The DPA also charged the Company in connection with employees' authorization and unlawful payment of funds to the government of Iraq in connection with the UN Oil-For-Food Program, under which the Company also realized significant profits during the period 2001-2003.    
     
  • SEC Settlement.  Weatherford International Ltd. agreed to the filing of a settled complaint against it by the SEC, requiring the payment of $65.6 million in disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties – including $1.875 million in civil penalties as a result of its failure to cooperate with the SEC at the outset of the investigation -- and to the entry of a permanent injunction against it prohibiting future violations.  The SEC complaint alleged violations of the FCPA's anti-bribery provisions in connection with the Angola-related facts detailed in the DPA and WSL plea agreement, and the "volume discounts" awarded to a distributor which Company executives knew to be payments to officials of the aforementioned Middle Eastern national oil company to secure sales of Weatherford products.3

    The SEC alleged violations of the FCPA's books and records provisions4 in connection with the Company's conduct in Angola, the unspecified Middle Eastern country and Iraq Oil-For-Food program-related payments described in the DOJ DPA's Statement of Facts.  Significantly, the SEC also alleged violations of the FCPA's books and records provisions in connection with the recording of amounts paid to a Swiss freight forwarder for the purposes of bribing employees of a private Italian company in "Congo"5, and in connection with Company employees' widespread creation of false accounting, inventory and other records to conceal unlicensed shipments of products to and dealings with US-sanctioned countries and other violations of US foreign trade controls.  This represents the first time that the SEC has used the FCPA's accounting provisions to charge foreign commercial bribery and foreign trade control violations, in addition to bribery of foreign public officials and/or payments to the Iraqi government in connection with the UN Oil-for-Food program.

    The SEC also charged violations of the FCPA's internal control provisions generally in connection with numerous compliance and control failings, and management's awareness of unlawful conduct.  The complaint alleged internal control violations in connection with Weatherford's failures: to scrutinize payments to or conduct due diligence on third parties, and to conduct training on relevant international regulatory compliance obligations for employees or third parties; to maintain controls over documentation for sales to sanctioned countries or maintain a process for capturing employees' complaints and concerns regarding international regulatory compliance issues; or to follow-up on those complaints when they were made to Company executives. 

    It alleges internal control violations in connection with two specific sets of conduct:  (1) cash payments and improper travel benefits approved by Company executives to be provided to high-level officials of Sonatrach, the Algerian state oil and gas company, during a visit to the US, and (2) the embezzlement and misappropriation of funds from a Company operation in Italy, some of which were used to pay bribes and provide other benefits to Albanian tax auditors, and some of which the employees sought for their own personal benefit.  When an employee confronted those responsible and raised the issue to the Company's audit committee, that person's employment was terminated while the employees responsible for the conduct remained in their positions.

Foreign Trade Controls

Concurrently with the FCPA resolutions, the Company also entered into foreign trade control-related settlements with the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas (S.D. Texas), the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and OFAC.  Those settlements are structured similarly to the FCPA-related settlements, including a DPA (this time for two years) and two criminal pleas by Company subsidiaries with the S.D. Texas, $100 million in criminal fines and civil penalties, and the obligation to hire an independent compliance auditor to verify foreign trade control compliance over the 2012-2014 time period, in addition to the FCPA compliance monitor.

  • S.D. Texas DPA and Criminal Pleas.  The Company agreed to pay a combined $50 million in criminal penalties in connection with the S.D. Texas resolutions, including $48 million by parent company Weatherford International Ltd. pursuant to the DPA, and $1 million each by subsidiaries Weatherford Production Optimisation (U.K.) Ltd. (f/k/a eProduction Solutions U.K. Limited) (eProd U.K.) and P.D. Drilling Holdings Inc. (P.D. Drilling) pursuant to criminal plea agreements.   

    According to the DPA's statement of facts, persons at various management and employment levels based in the United States, and foreign or non-US persons employed by subsidiaries based in Canada, Dubai, the U.K. and elsewhere, knowingly facilitated, approved, supported, or participated in restricted country business, and in certain cases deliberately circumvented what controls were in place relating to the export of US origin goods and services to, and otherwise deal in the property of, sanctioned countries without the required US government approvals.  For example, subsidiary Precision Drilling Corporation and Precision Energy Services Ltd., a Canadian company acquired in 2005, exported and reexported US-origin goods, technology, and services to Cuba from or through Canada without the TWEA-required US government authorization.  Additionally, US persons were involved in approving or supporting decisions affecting Cuban business, and the Human Resources department in Houston provided services to personnel in Cuba.  Employees created elaborate systems of false documentation to circumvent what controls the Company maintained in its IT and other systems in order to continue to ship US-origin items to Cuba, including creating fictitious ship-to destinations in company systems such as "Barcelona, Venezuela", known by certain Company employees to mean Cuba.

    Similar patterns of conduct were involved in connection with criminal violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) with respect to Iran, Syria and Sudan.  For instance, subsidiary Weatherford Oil Tools Middle East (WOTME) knowingly shipped equipment used in underbalanced drilling operations from the parent company in the United States to Iran via the United Arab Emirates.  WOTME and Weatherford employees misrepresented the final destination for these US-origin items and services by mislabeling documents and mislabeling or removing country-of-origin information from the products, and using code words such as "Dubai across the water" to conceal that Iran was the ultimate destination of the products.  US persons, including in the United States working for the parent company, were involved in and played "instrumental roles" in supporting the acquisition by WOTME of two foreign companies - Neyfor Weir of the United Kingdom and Drilling Tools (International) Ltd. - doing business almost exclusively in Iran.  US persons' prohibited actions included preparing bid documents, analyzing assets and liabilities, determining and setting bid pricing, engaging company and third party personnel to conclude the transaction, negotiating on behalf of WOTME, seeking (and receiving) advice and approval on the transactions from senior management in Houston, and preparing key transaction documents.  Company employees referred to Iran as "Offshore Dubai" and used other code words in working on the transactions.  WOTME also entered into a Consultancy Agreement with a former affiliated entity known as Energy Ventures Middle East, Inc., whose Managing Director was a US person and provided services related to conducting business in Iran.

    The criminal informations filed in connection with eProd U.K.'s and P.D. Drilling's plea agreements alleged similar facts with respect to Iran and Cuba, respectively.  US persons allegedly engaged in willful conduct to conceal ship-to destinations in Company databases, and to otherwise circumvent what compliance systems the Company did maintain in order to export goods, services and technology without the required licenses to Iran and Cuba.  Both of these pleas alleged that these companies in the 2000s had acquired entities already conducting business with Iran (e.g., with Kala Naft of the National Iranian Oil Company) and Cuba (e.g., with Peberco, Sherritt, and Cupet), but following the acquisitions, did not cease or secure the proper authorizations for such dealings and transactions despite knowing that the transactions were prohibited without US government authorization.  
  • BIS Civil Settlement.  The Company also agreed to pay a $50 million civil penalty to BIS to settle charges that parent company Weatherford International Ltd. and four foreign subsidiaries exported oil and gas drilling equipment to Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, and Mexico in alleged violation of the EAR, 15 C.F.R.  Parts 730-774 (e.g., General Order No. 2, Supplement No. 1 to Part 736 and 15 C.F.R. § 742.3), and the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR), 31 C.F.R. Part 760 (now known as the Iranian Transaction and Sanctions Regulations, see 31 C.F.R. § 560.204).  The EAR charges against Weatherford are divided into two distinct categories: (1) acting with knowledge of a violation (15 C.F.R. § 764.2(e)); and (2) evasion of the Regulations (15 C.F.R. § 764.2(h)).  Most of the unauthorized US-origin items were designated EAR99, a catch-all category for items not considered to have a dual-use or military application, such as mud motors, orientation modules, drill collars and stabilizers, measuring-while-drilling orientation modules and batteries, as well as consumables like gloves and solvents, but which are restricted for the oil and gas industry in embargoed destinations.  Beyond the monetary penalty, all the Weatherford affiliates committed to retain an unaffiliated third party consultant with US foreign trade control expertise to conduct annual external audits  of compliance with exports or reexports subject to the EAR to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria that occurred during calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.  The audits will not be privileged, must be submitted to BIS, and any identified violations must be promptly notified to BIS with supporting documentation. 

    OFAC Settlement.  The Company also reached a civil settlement with OFAC for alleged unauthorized exports, transactions, and dealings by US persons with Iran, Sudan, and Cuba in contravention of the ITR, CACR and the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (SSR), 31 C.F.R. Part 538.  OFAC asserted that US persons provided oilfield equipment and services in which the government of Cuba or blocked Cuban nationals had an interest, including travel-related transactions by Weatherford employees to and from Cuba, as well as conducted oilfield services in Iran and Sudan, which involved the direct or indirect exportation of goods, technology, and services to those countries, including the facilitation of those transactions by US persons.  Although OFAC calculated the applicable penalties as $91,026,450 (with a base penalty amount of slightly over $107 million), the agency agreed to deem the amount satisfied by the $100 million in criminal and civil monetary penalties to be paid to S.D. Texas and BIS.  As with the BIS settlement, independent external audits of the Company's sanctions compliance efforts for calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014 are required.

Full-Scope Coordinated Enforcement Requires Full-Scope International Regulatory Compliance

US Government Charging Decisions

The wide-ranging Weatherford enforcement actions stand in contrast to the recent Morgan Stanley and Pfizer/Wyeth FCPA investigations that resulted in, respectively, outright declination of enforcement against the company as a result of the strength of Morgan Stanley's compliance program, voluntary disclosure and cooperation with US law enforcement officials, and Peterson's deliberate circumvention of applicable controls, and civil, not criminal, enforcement with respect to conduct discovered, disclosed and remediated during Pfizer's acquisition of Wyeth.  DOJ's imposition of a criminal fine with no "discount" off the low end of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines fine range likely also highlights the challenges of avoiding immediate prosecution where a company has not voluntarily disclosed significant and pervasive compliance issues including high-level personnel.  Weatherford's significant steps since 2008, noted in the FCPA-related internal control DPA, to remediate and invest in compliance (including building a department with 38 full-time compliance professionals), and its change in posture during the course of the investigation regarding cooperation, while perhaps making a DPA for the parent possible, were ultimately insufficient to secure a "discount" off the applicable fine range, or avoid a monitor, especially in light of the fact that some of the conduct apparently continued into 2011, long after the investigations had begun and the company had undertaken significant compliance efforts.

The Weatherford settlements can be seen as an expression of US government enforcement intentions to impose significant penalties against companies where violations are viewed as deliberate and companies do not uphold (or, indeed, company personnel deliberately circumvent) their compliance obligations.   Weatherford, by its own admissions in the settlements, maintained no effective compliance program before 2008.  It failed to integrate new acquisitions into what foreign trade control compliance systems it did have.  Executives, management and employees knowingly engaged in both the FCPA- and foreign trade control-violative conduct, which included deliberate circumvention of Company policies, management's – including then in-house counsel's – deliberate failure to address compliance issues and in some cases active condonement of those practices.  In further contrast to Morgan Stanley, where the personal benefit to Peterson from his actions was a key factor in the agencies' declination decision, the SEC still brought internal controls charges where employees diverted company funds and used a portion of them to make unlawful payments to Albanian tax officials while retaining some for themselves, as a result of the Company's failure to maintain a compliance program. 

Key Compliance Takeaways

The settlements carry a number of key takeaways for companies' compliance programs. The FCPA-related internal control DPA clearly demonstrates the DOJ's acceptance of the view expressed by the SEC that FCPA compliance program elements form an essential part of a company's internal controls.  They also clearly evidence the US government's – in particular the SEC's – intention to expand its enforcement focus to include foreign commercial bribery and foreign trade controls.  That expansion has clear implications for compliance programs, as they will now need to take into account those risks, alongside the public sector bribery risks companies have focused on to date.  Companies that have not taken steps to integrate these risks into their programs should do so.  In some areas of a program, such as due diligence, a combined strategy — encompassing both anti-corruption and foreign trade controls -- can be effective and deliver efficiencies.

The settlements also reinforce the need for companies to focus on third-party risks, including in their joint venture relationships, and pay particular attention to the due diligence, remediation and integration efforts once in M&A transactions.  With respect to foreign trade control compliance, companies should scrutinize their monitoring of EAR99 items exported "as is" from the United States; although such violations have typically been charged civilly to date, the Weatherford settlements demonstrate that those provisions will be criminally enforced against US and foreign persons where deliberate violations are present, in particular where US government enforcement actions are not the result of voluntary disclosures by subject companies.

Footnotes

1. In March 2010, Innospec Inc. agreed to plead guilty to a twelve-count criminal information alleging FCPA violations in connection with bribes paid to Iraqi and Indonesian government officials relating to the sale of a fuel additive for leaded gasoline, and with unlicensed sales to Cuba in violation of the Trading With The Enemy Act (TWEA).  Innospec Inc. also reached a separate civil settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for FCPA violations, the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulation (CACR), 31 C.F.R. Part 515, and UK subsidiary Innospec Ltd. separately reached a settlement relating to violations of UK anti-bribery laws with the UK Serious Fraud Office.  Innospec agreed to pay a total of $40.2 million in monetary sanctions to the agencies in question.  See US v. Innospec, Inc., 10-cr-00061 (D.D.C. 2010); Securities & Exchange Commission v. Innospec, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-00448 (RMC) (D.D.C. 2010); OFAC Enforcement Information for March 19, 2010:, Innospec Inc. Settles Cuban Assets Control Regulations Allegations, (Mar. 19, 2010), http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/actions/20100319.shtml; R. v Innospec Limited [2010] Lloyd's Rep. F. C. 462, [2010] Crim. L. R. 665.

2. See 15 U.S.C. §§ 78m(b)(2)(B), 78m(b)(5), and 78ff(a)).

3. 15. U.S.C. § 78dd-1.

4. 15 U.S.C. § 78m(b)(2)(A).

5. The SEC Complaint does not specify whether "Congo" refers to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) or the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Jack R. Hayes
Charles J. Morris
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Emails

From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.