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SBM Offshore Agrees to Cooperate in Probe of Petrobras Graft

Source: Bloomberg 3/18/2015, Location: South America

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SBM Offshore NV signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate with Brazilian authorities investigating companies for corrupt contracts with state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

SBM is providing information relevant to the probe, the Schiedam, Netherlands-based company said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. SBM, questioned since April 2014 for allegedly bribing public officials and obtaining an improper advantage in Petrobras projects, said the accord provides a framework for a settlement without elaborating.

Brazil’s comptroller-general initiated a procedure against SBM to determine whether it gained unfair advantages by bribing officials, the agency known as the CGU said Nov. 12. SBM could be barred from signing contracts with the Brazilian government or state-controlled companies such as Petrobras, one of SBM’s main clients, unless it reaches a settlement agreement with the CGU.

SBM also agreed in November to pay $240 million to The Netherlands’s prosecution office to settle a case of alleged improper payments to sales agents for companies including Petrobras from 2007 to 2011.

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