ALEXANDRIA, Va. — French oil giant Total agreed Wednesday to pay $242.5 million to settle criminal charges alleging the company used middlemen to pay bribes to win lucrative contracts in Iran.

Court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria indicate Total paid $60 million in bribes between 1995 and 2004 that allowed it to re-renter the Iranian oil and gas market. The bribes helped Total land contracts with the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company to develop oil and gas fields.