SBM Says Brazil Probe Finds No Improper-Payment Evidence

SBM Offshore NV (SBMO), the Dutch supplier of floating oil production platforms, said an internal investigation found no credible evidence of improper payments made to Brazilian government employees from 2007 through 2011.

There were certain “red flags” in the handling of $139.1 million of payments in Brazil, though the probe determined the agent involved “provided substantial and legitimate services,” Schiedam, Netherlands-based SBM said in a statement today. There’s some evidence that payments may have been made directly or indirectly to government officials in Equatorial Guinea, where commissions to agents amounted to $18.8 million, and Angola, where agent commissions totaled $22.7 million.

The company is in talks with the Dutch prosecutor and U.S. Department of Justice on the findings of the investigation and is unable to estimate potential financial damages at this stage, it said.

The findings from its internal investigation in Brazil, where SBM gets almost half its revenue, are in line with an internal audit by Petroleo Brasileiro SA. (PETR4) The Rio de Janeiro-based oil producer said on March 31 that it found no wrongdoing by its employees in connection with SBM’s contracts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Pals in Amsterdam at fpals@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Risser at drisser@bloomberg.net Tom Lavell, Robert Valpuesta

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