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Reuters: Feds probe Shell Oil’s dealings with freight firm

Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:59pm EDT 

NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) – U.S. Justice Department is looking into Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) U.S. unit concerning possible violations of U.S. corruption laws in its use of Swiss freight-forwarding firm Panalpina (PWTN.S: Quote, Profile, Research).

The U.S. Justice Department in July contacted Shell Oil concerning its use of Panalpina, Royal Dutch Shell said in its annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on March 17.

“Shell has started an internal investigation and is cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission investigations. While these investigations are ongoing, Shell may face fines and additional costs,” Royal Dutch Shell said in its report.

Last year, Panalpina suspended some operations in Nigeria following a bribery probe by U.S. authorities.

Earlier this month, Panalpina said it had certain indications that violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) may have occurred, and said the audit committee has instructed an external law firm to investigate Panalpina’s past compliance with the FCPA.

Panalpina has agreed with plans by the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate in a limited number of countries, a process not expected to be completed before the end of the year, the firm said.

(Reporting by Ilaina Jonas; Editing by Gary Hill)

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