Petrobras to Audit SBM Contracts After Probe Documents Leaked

Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4), the world’s most indebted oil company, said it initiated an internal audit into allegations of contract irregularities with SBM Offshore NV (SBMO) after documents were leaked on the Internet.

“We started an internal audit last week and the results should be ready in 30 days,” Petrobras Chief Executive Officer Maria das Gracas Foster told reporters at the state-controlled oil producer’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro today. The audit started after Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico reported Feb. 13 that an investigation into oil platform provider SBM Offshore’s possible improper payments to companies in three countries included Petrobras.

Results of an internal investigation into the payments had been delivered to the Dutch public prosecutor’s office and the U.S. Department of Justice, Bruno Chabas, SBM’s CEO, said on a Feb. 6 earnings call with analysts. Schiedam, Netherlands-based SBM first reported the investigations in April 2012 and said outside counsel and forensic accountants were conducting the probe.

SBM, which gets almost half of its revenue from Petrobras, said in a statement on Feb. 7 that it would “take steps” against a former employee who threatened to publish documents from the investigation. The documents were published on Wikipedia this month after SBM dismissed the threat, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Rio de Janeiro at rorihuela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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