U.S. authorities resume SBM Offshore investigation

Dutch firm SBM Offshore is again being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The provider of FPSO vessels for oil and gas industry this week said that the United States Department of Justice had informed SBM Offshore that it re-opened its past inquiry of the company and “has made information requests in connection with that inquiry“.

To remind, in 2014, the Department of Justice closed an investigation into SBM Offshore’s illicit payments made to government officials in Angola, Brazil, and Equatorial Guinea, and decided not to prosecute.

Now, the DOJ’s resumption of the investigation follows the recent case in Brazil, when the Brazilian Public Prosecutor’s Office made bribery allegations regarding several people in Brazil and abroad, including some current and former employees of the company, of whom one is a U.S. citizen.

Regarding the DOJ’s new initiative, SBM Offshore this week said it was seeking further clarification about the scope of the inquiry.

“The company remains committed to close-out discussions on this legacy issue which the company self-reported to the authorities in 2012 and for which it reached a settlement with the Dutch Public Prosecutor in 2014,” SBM Offshore said.

SBM Offshore last month in Brazil reached a settlement regarding the allegations made against the company’s CEO and a member of its Supervisory Board, but without admission of guilt. This settlement is still subject to approval by the court.

The Dutch company is being investigated over an alleged scheme involving embezzlement and bribery in Petrobras contracts with SBM Offshore, which allegedly began in 1997 and lasted until 2012.

To remind, the company in November 2014 reached a $240 million out-of-court settlement with the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office (Openbaar Ministerie) over the inquiry into alleged improper payments.

SBM Offshore has allocated a similar sum – US$245 million – for a potential settlement in Brazil.

“While discussions are at an advanced stage, the timing of a settlement announcement as well as the size of any potential final settlement amount remain to be confirmed,” SBM Offshore said.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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