SBM Offshore Says US Authorities Re-Open Corruption Probe


AMSTERDAM, Feb 10 (Reuters) - SBM Offshore, the world's top oil production ship leasing company, said on Wednesday that U.S. authorities had re-opened an inquiry into bribery allegations involving the Dutch company.

SBM Offshore reached a record $240 million settlement in November 2014 with Dutch and U.S. authorities relating to corruption charges in Angola, Brazil and Equatorial Guinea, involving an estimated $200 million in bribes paid between 2007 and 2011.

SBM Offshore said in a statement it was setting aside $245 million for a possible settlement with Brazilian authorities, although the timing of a settlement was unclear.

The company, which generates roughly 60 percent of revenue in Brazil, has been in talks with the Brazilian comptroller general's office about a leniency deal related to the corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras.

In December, Brazilian prosecutors charged 12 people with involvement in the bribery scheme, including a U.S. citizen.

The U.S. Department of Justice has "made information requests in connection with that inquiry. The company is seeking further clarification about the scope of the inquiry," SBM Offshore said.

Last month, SBM Offshore chief executive Bruno Chabas, and former board member Sietze Hepkema settled "personal favouritism" charges with Brazilian prosecutors for around $60,000 each, with no admission of guilt.

(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing Alexander Smith)


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