Dutch energy firm SBM Offshore pays $240 mn in bribe probe
Oil and gas company SBM Offshore has made a $240 million out-of-court settlement for bribes paid in two of Africa's largest oil producers and Brazil, Dutch prosecutors said Wednesday.
"SBM offshore has accepted an offer from the Dutch prosecutor's office to enter in an out-of-court settlement," a statement issued in The Hague said.
Shares in SMB Offshore shot up 18.
06 percent to 12.
59 euros on the Amsterdam stock exchange after the US Department of Justice dropped its own probe as a result of the $240 million (192 million euro) settlement.
The amount consists of a $40 million fine and a $200 million profit payback.
The payout follows a two-year internal investigation by the company based in Schiedam outside Rotterdam, after it discovered its sales agents in Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Brazil were bribing government officials.
SBM Offshore themselves told the prosecutor's office (OM) of the internal investigation and pledged to fully cooperate.
In Angola, set to overtake Nigeria as Africa's largest oil producer, "government officials, who are associated with at least one of the sales agents, received funds," prosecutors said.
"In addition, there are payments for travel and study costs to one or more Angolan government officials or their relatives.
"In Equatorial Guinea in early 2012 SBM Offshore found out "that one of its former sales agents might have given certain items of value to government officials.
""This reportedly involved one of more cars and a building," the OM's statement added.
Government officials were also bribed in Brazil, the OM said.
Prosecutors said because SBM Offshore initiated the investigation themselves and took measures to prevent bribery from happening again, it "sees the out-of-court settlement as an appropriate outcome of this matter.
"The investigation and settlement "showed that the Netherlands takes action against foreign corruption," prosecutors added.
Established in 1862 in Southern Holland, SBM Offshore makes ships and rigs for the offshore oil and gas sector and employs more than 10,000 people world-wide.
© 2014 AFP