Dutch SBM Offshore has agreed to a USD 240 million out-of-court settlement with the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office (Openbaar Ministerie) over the inquiry into alleged payments of bribes to sales agents in Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Brazil in the period from 2007 through 2011.
The United States Department of Justice has informed SBM Offshore that it is not prosecuting the company and has closed its inquiry into the matter.
Bruno Chabas, CEO of SBM Offshore, said: “SBM welcomes the conclusion of all discussions with the Dutch and U.S. authorities. We have been open, transparent and accountable throughout this difficult process which has addressed issues from a past era. We can now focus on the future, secure in the knowledge that we have put in place an enhanced compliance culture which embeds our core values.”
While it is not yet certain how the various investigations in Brazil will affect SBM Offshore, the company will soon reinstate its dialogue with Petrobras about the future of their relationship.
The settlement with the Openbaar Ministerie is a result of the discussions between the Openbaar Ministerie and SBM Offshore, which started after SBM Offshore voluntarily informed the Openbaar Ministerie and the United States Department of Justice of its self-initiated internal investigation in the spring of 2012.
The internal investigation revealed that the company paid approximately USD 200 million in commissions to agents during that period of which the majority relate to three countries: USD 18.8 million to Equatorial Guinea, USD 22.7 million to Angola and USD 139.1 million to Brazil. In respect of Angola and Equatorial Guinea there was some evidence that payments may have been made directly or indirectly to government officials, the company said in a release.
SBM Offshore says it will cover the settlement out of its own funds and has already provided for it in the first half 2014 results. Payment will be made in three instalments, the first of which (USD 100 million) has already been paid, the company says. The two further instalments of USD 70 million each will be due respectively on December 1, 2015 and December 1, 2016.