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SBM Offshore says sales agents may have made improper payments

Source: Reuters - Wed, 2 Apr 2014 05:54 GMT
Author: Reuters
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AMSTERDAM, April 2 (Reuters) - SBM Offshore NV, the Dutch oil-platform leasing company, said on Wednesday an internal investigation found "some evidence" sales agents in Angola and Equatorial Guinea made improper payments to government officials.

SBM Offshore said that between 2007 and 2011 it paid sales agents around $200 million in commissions, mainly in Equatorial Guinea ($18.8 million), Angola ($22.7 million) and Brazil ($139.1 million).

"In respect of Angola and Equatorial Guinea, there is some evidence that payments may have been made directly or indirectly to government officials," SBM Offshore said in statement.

In Brazil, SBM Offshore said "there were certain red flags, but the investigation did not find any credible evidence that the company or the company's agent made improper payments to government officials."

SBM Offshore's statement came after Brazil's state-run oil company, Petrobras, said on Monday its internal investigation found no evidence of alleged corruption or bribes paid to Petrobras employees.

Dutch financial services company ING Groep said on Tuesday in a research note that it expected SBM Offshore would have to pay "a fine of as much as $200-400 million, spread over Dutch and U.S. jurisdiction."

(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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