• Saturday, February 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Petrobras investigating bribery allegations

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Brazil state oil company, Petrobras, is investigating allegations that a Dutch ship leaser, SBM Offshore NV, paid bribes to win contracts for floating oil platforms. The internal investigation at Petrobas was launched after Brazil and the oil company was linked to a 20-month probe of SBM Offshore’s commercial activities. The Petrobras investigation will last 30 days.

The most recent allegations, made by an unidentified former employee of SBM Offshore, suggest that Petrobras officials were paid $139 million in bribes through an intermediary.

Brazil’s comptroller general had asked Petrobras is formally known, for information about its SBM Offshore contracts.

SBM Offshore has been in contact with the U.S. and Dutch justice depart¬ments regarding its own investigation since 2012.

SBM Offshore is the world’s largest leaser of floating, production, storage and offloading ships (FPSO). Eight of its 17 FPSOs are in Brazil, where it also has three onshore bases and a shipyard.

SBM Offshore’s FPSOs and two other offshore platforms produce about 1 million barrels of oil a day for clients in Brazil, Canada, the United States and West Africa. The company is one of the biggest suppliers of oil services to Petrobras, which is in the middle of a $237 billion five-year investment plan, the world’s largest corporate invest-ment program.images

In 2013, SBM Offshore said its investigations found indications of improper payments to government officials in “two countries in Africa, and in one other country outside Africa.” SBM Offshore also said it might have violated anti-corruption laws and that it could be subject to criminal investi¬gation for alleged payments of bribes to officials in African countries.

New allegations were made public in early February from an unidentified former employee who posted what is allegedly internal company informa¬tion on SBM Offshore’s Wikipedia page. The allegations were removed from the page but remain archived on Wikipedia.

The employee alleged that SBM Offshore gave $250 million in bribes to government officials in Africa and Brazil and that more than half of the money, $139 million, was paid in Brazil to Petrobras officials through an intermediary.