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Petrobras Audit Finds No Evidence of SBM Contract Bribes

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Latin America’s largest company by sales, found no wrongdoing by employees in connection with SBM Offshore NV contracts.

An internal audit “concluded that, based on its investigations and restricted to its regulatory competence, no events or documents were found to evidence bribe payments to Petrobras employees,” the Rio de Janeiro-based oil producer said in a statement published in Brazilian newspapers, including Valor Economico. The audit committee was formed Feb. 13.

Petrobras started the audit after Valor Economico reported Feb. 13 that a Dutch investigation into oil platform provider SBM’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, Schiedam, Netherlands-based SBM’s chief executive officer, said on a Feb. 6 earnings call with analysts.

“We are pleased to note the conclusion of Petrobras’ investigation,” SBM, which gets almost half its revenue from Petrobras, said in a separate statement today. “The company hopes to be able to share more details on its internal investigation in the next few days.”

Petrobras’s announcement comes amid attempts by opposition lawmakers to start a congressional investigation into the 2006 acquisition of a refinery in Pasadena, Texas.

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