Tags: oil | company | payments | ruling

Court Tosses Rule on Disclosure of Oil Company Payments to Foreign Govts

Tuesday, 02 Jul 2013 04:18 PM

By Dan Weil

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A U.S. District Court Judge Tuesday jettisoned a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule that would make U.S. oil and mining companies fully reveal payments they make to foreign governments.

Business groups, including the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Chamber of Commerce, challenged the rule, which was struck down by Judge John Bates, The Hill reports.

They argued that the rule was too costly and would have forced them to give up proprietary business information.

Bates vacated the rule, established by the 2010 Dodd-Frank bank reform law, passing it back to the SEC. The SEC overstepped by requiring that full filings from companies be made public, rather than just summaries, he decided.

The SEC "offers no persuasive arguments that the statute unambiguously requires public disclosure of the full reports," Bates wrote.

Human rights groups supported the rule, saying the information it requires would help prevent corruption and help guarantee that energy development in Africa and elsewhere benefits the local population, according to The Hill.

The business groups were obviously pleased with their victory. "Today's decision is a win for American jobs, for our economy and for international transparency," Harry Ng, API general counsel said in a statement.

"U.S. companies are leading the way to increase transparency, but the rule would have jeopardized transparency efforts already underway by making American firms less competitive against state-owned oil companies."



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