Offshore drilling firm settles bribery charge for €192m

The Public Prosecutor announced this morning that SBM Offshore has settled for an amount of 192 million euro ($240 million). This is in the corruption case in which the company paid bribes in Angola and Equatorial Guinea. Evidence of bribery was also found in Brazil.

An investigation led by the Public Prosecutor showed that intermediaries had made illicit donations on behalf of SBM to officials in Equatorial Guinea, Brazil and Angola. In total the company paid 160 million euro to committees abroad between 2007 and 2011.

For this the company - a service provider in the oil and gas industry - must now pay a fine of 32 million euro. The company must also cede 160 million euro to illegally obtained benefits.

Earlier this year De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and PricewaterhouseCoopers deepened the investigation into the bribes paid by the Dutch company. Their report showed that $250 million were paid to various forms of bribes in 7 years. In addition to the three mentioned companies, this also happened in Malaysia, Iraq, Kazakhstan and Italy.

According to the Director of Legal Affairs Sietze Hepkema, SBM Offshore can now again look to the future. With the payment of the settlement, SBM can "close the chapter", said Hepkema.

The investigation and settlement is bad news for accountants KPMG, who approved the annual reports of SBM Offshore without reporting suspicious transactions. The same was the case with the books of construction company Ballast Nedam. KPMG reached a settlement with Justice for the negligent inspection or knowingly concealing this corruption.


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