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The following is an excerpt from a 10-K SEC Filing, filed by GLOBAL INDUSTRIES LTD on 2/26/2008.
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During the fourth quarter of 2007, we received a payroll tax assessment for the years 2005 through 2007 from the Nigerian tax authorities in the amount of $23.2 million. The assessment alleges that certain expatriate employees, working on projects in Nigeria, were subject to personal income taxes, which were not paid to the government. We filed a formal objection to the assessment on November 12, 2007. We do not believe these employees are subject to the personal income tax assessed and believe this matter will ultimately have to be resolved by litigation. However, we do not expect the ultimate resolution to have a material adverse effect on the Company.
On February 21, 2007, we received a $29.7 million tax assessment from Algeria for income tax, business tax and value added tax for the years 2005 and 2004. We are indemnified by our client for the value added tax portion, which is approximately $10.4 million, of the assessment. We accrued income taxes for the Algerian tax liability in conjunction with the project in 2005 and 2004. We engaged an outside tax counsel to assist us in resolving the tax assessment, and they are presently in discussions with the Algerian tax authorities. During the fourth quarter of 2007, we reached a final resolution with the Algerian tax authority for the income and the business tax portions of the assessment for approximately $2.5 million, including penalties. This amount has been fully reserved and will be paid in full during the first quarter of 2008. Based on our outside tax counsel’s discussions with the Algerian tax authorities, we expect the value added tax assessment will be waived.
In June 2007, the Company announced that it was conducting an internal investigation of its West Africa operations, focusing on the legality, under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and local laws, of one of its subsidiary’s reimbursement of certain expenses incurred by a customs agent in connection with shipments of materials and the temporary importation of vessels into West African waters. The Company further announced that the Audit Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors had engaged the law firm of Mayer Brown LLP, an international law firm with significant experience in investigating and advising on FCPA matters, to lead the investigation. The investigation is ongoing.
The Audit Committee began its internal investigation after management brought to the attention of the committee concerns about certain actions by a customs agent in connection with shipments of materials, obtaining temporary importation permits for its vessels into Nigeria, and the settlement of the FCPA proceedings involving certain Vetco Gray entities. In addition, the Company’s management and the Audit Committee were aware of press releases by three other companies disclosing that they are conducting internal investigations into the FCPA implications of certain actions by a customs agent in connection with the temporary importation of their vessels into Nigeria. The Company’s management considered it prudent to review the Company’s operations since it uses customs agents and the Company’s vessels that have operated in Nigeria do so under temporary importation permits.
The Company voluntarily contacted the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice to advise them that an independent investigation is under way and that it intends to cooperate fully with both agencies. The Company received a subpoena from the SEC requesting documents related to the Company’s dealings with the customs agent in question, focusing primarily on transactions in the Company’s West African operations, which indicates that the SEC has opened a formal non-public investigation into the matter. The letter accompanying the SEC subpoena states that the investigation and subpoena do not mean that the SEC or its staff has concluded that any violation of law has occurred, nor does it mean that they have a negative opinion of any person, entity or security. The Company has been cooperating fully with both agencies in connection with the matter and will continue to do so. Special counsel to the Audit Committee for the investigation has and will continue to provide interim updates to the agencies and the Audit Committee as the investigation progresses.
At this stage of the internal investigation the Company is unable to predict what conclusions, if any, the SEC will reach or whether the Department of Justice will open a separate investigation to investigate this matter or what potential remedies these agencies may seek. If the SEC or Department of Justice determines that violations of the FCPA have occurred, they could seek civil and criminal sanctions, including monetary penalties, against us and/or certain of our employees, as well as changes to our business practices and


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compliance programs, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition. In addition, such actions, whether actual or alleged, could damage our reputation and ability to do business. Further, detecting, investigating, and resolving these matters is expensive and consumes significant time and attention of our senior management.
Based on information obtained to date in our internal investigation, we have not determined if any potential liability that may result is either probable or can be reasonably estimated. As a result, we have not made any accrual in our financial statements at December 31, 2007. Management and the Audit Committee will work with independent counsel and appropriate personnel within the Company to implement promptly such measures as are considered appropriate.
We continue to use alternative procedures adopted after the commencement of the investigation to obtain Nigerian temporary import permits. These procedures are designed to assure FCPA compliance. Although we are still working and pursuing additional work in West Africa, we have declined or terminated available projects and delayed the start of certain projects in Nigeria in order to ensure FCPA compliance and appropriate security for our personnel and assets. The possibility exists that we may have to curtail or cease our operations in Nigeria if appropriate long-tern solutions cannot be identified and implemented. We have worldwide customer relationships and a mobile fleet, and we are prepared to redeploy vessels to other areas as necessary to assure the vessels are utilized to the fullest extent possible.
Notwithstanding that the internal investigation is ongoing, we have concluded that certain changes to our compliance program would provide us with greater assurance that we are in compliance with the FCPA and its record-keeping requirements. We have had a long-time published policy requiring compliance with the FCPA and broadly prohibiting any improper payments by us to foreign or domestic officials as well as training programs for our employees, we have since the commencement of the internal investigation adopted, and may adopt additional, measures intended to enhance our compliance procedures and ability to audit and confirm our compliance. Additional measures also may be required once the investigation concludes.
Our operations are subject to the inherent risks of offshore marine activity including accidents resulting in the loss of life or property, environmental mishaps, mechanical failures, and collisions. We insure against certain of these risks. We believe our insurance should protect us against, among other things, the accidental total or constructive total loss of our vessels. We also carry workers’ compensation, maritime employer’s liability, general liability, and other insurance customary in our business. All insurance is carried at levels of coverage and deductibles that we consider financially prudent. Recently, our industry has experienced a tightening in the builders’ risk market and the property market subject to named windstorms, which has increased deductibles and reduced coverage.
Our services are provided in hazardous environments where accidents involving catastrophic damage or loss of life could result, and litigation arising from such an event may result in us being named a defendant in lawsuits asserting large claims. Although there can be no assurance that the amount of insurance carried by our Company is sufficient to protect us fully in all events, management believes that our insurance protection is adequate for our business operations. A successful liability claim for which we are underinsured or uninsured could have a material adverse effect on the Company.
We are involved in various routine legal proceedings primarily involving claims for personal injury under the General Maritime Laws of the United States and Jones Act as a result of alleged negligence. We believe that the outcome of all such proceedings, even if determined adversely, would not have a material adverse effect on our business or financial statements.


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