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SBM Offshore Agrees To Pay $238 Mln To Resolve US Bribery Charges

Marine engineering group SBM Offshore (SBFFY.PK), and its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, SBM Offshore USA Inc., have agreed to resolve criminal charges and pay a criminal penalty of $238 million in connection with schemes involving the bribery of foreign officials in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Iraq in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or FCPA. SBM USA pleaded guilty today in connection with the resolution.

SBM entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in connection with a criminal information filed today in the Southern District of Texas charging the company with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge David Hittner. In addition, SBM USA pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Judge Hittner on a one-count criminal information charging the company with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.

Pursuant to its agreement with the Department, SBM agreed to pay a total criminal penalty of $238 million to the United States, including a $500,000 criminal fine and $13.2 million in criminal forfeiture that SBM agreed to pay on behalf of SBM USA.

According to the companies' admissions and court documents, beginning by at least 1996 and continuing until at least 2012, SBM conspired to violate the FCPA by paying more than $180 million in commissions to intermediaries, knowing that a portion of those commissions would be used to bribe foreign officials in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Iraq. SBM made these payments in order to influence those officials, for the purpose of securing improper advantages and obtaining or retaining business with state-owned oil companies in the five named countries. SBM acknowledged that it gained at least $2.8 billion from projects it obtained from these state-owned oil companies.

The Justice Department resolution follows guilty pleas by two former SBM executives. On November 9, Anthony Mace, the former CEO of SBM and a former member of the board of directors of SBM USA, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA. On Nov. 6, Robert Zubiate, a former SBM USA executive, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA. Mace and Zubiate are awaiting sentencing.

In 2014, SBM settled with the Dutch Public Prosecutor's Office (Openbaar Ministerie) over related conduct and paid the Netherlands a total $200 million in disgorged profits and a $40 million fine. SBM has paid a combined worldwide total in criminal penalties in excess of $475 million.

by RTT Staff Writer

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