SBM Offshore settles Brazil bribery allegations

Dutch company SBM Offshore has reached a settlement with Brazilian authorities regarding the alleged involvement of its executives in a bribery case in Brazil.

To remind, in December 2015, SBM Offshore’s CEO Bruno Chabas and a member of the Supervisory Board Sietze Hepkema appeared on a list of (former) Petrobras executives, and former sales agents and (former) SBM Offshore executives who may be prosecuted in Brazil in relation to a corruption case. According to Brazilian media, the Brazilian authorities are investigating a scheme involving embezzlement and bribery in Petrobras contracts with SBM Offshore, which allegedly began in 1997 and lasted until 2012.

According to SBM Offshore, a provider of floating production vessels, on January 15, 2016, the company was informed that the judge in Brazil referred the accusations with regard to Chabas and Hepkema back to the Public Prosecutor to propose an out-of-court settlement, on a no admission of guilt basis, “as is common for misdemeanors of the kind alleged.”

“Messrs. Chabas and Hepkema and the Management and Supervisory Boards have considered the Public Prosecutor’s proposal for an out-of-court settlement and decided to accept it. This results in the payment of 250.000 Brazilian Reals (approximately US$60,000) each, which the Company will pay,” SBM Offshore said.

SBM Offshore, however, emphasized that the settlement does not involve an admission of guilt,  and said it remained of the opinion that the accusations were without merit.

“However, SBM Offshore also believes that accepting the settlement offers a pragmatic opportunity to expeditiously resolve this matter that avoids long and costly legal proceedings and allows the Company’s management team to concentrate on the business. The Supervisory Board of the Company affirms its earlier statement of support of Messrs. Chabas and Hepkema,”  SBM Offshore said.

The settlement with the Public Prosecutor reached on January 22, 2016 is subject to confirmation by the judge handling the case. The timing of the confirmation has yet to be established, the company said.

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