According to LatinNews, Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras has been linked to a bribery scandal in Holland involving SBM Offshore, a Dutch maritime engineering group that in April 2013 was awarded a massive US$3.5bn contract by Petrobras to build two deep water floating oil rigs. The rigs, known as floating, production, storage and offloading platforms (FPSOs), were the biggest ever order for SBM, which won the tender in a joint venture with Brazil’s Queiroz Galvão Oil & Gas. The rigs are due for delivery in 2015 and 2016 and SBM-Queiroz Galvão will manage the two platforms for 20 years.
A Reuters report on February 7 wrote that “SBM Offshore said in 2012 it had started investigating alleged payments involving sales via intermediaries between 2007 and 2011. It later disclosed it might have violated anti-corruption laws and could be subject to criminal investigation for alleged payments of bribes to officials”.
According to the Brazilian daily O Estado Julio Faerman, SBM’s chief commercial representative in Brazil, may have been the conduit for the bribes. José Sérgio Gabrielli, Petrobras president at the time, said he had “never heard” of the supposed intermediary.
The Dutch Justice confirmed the investigation, which pointed to the fact that the CEO of SBM Offshore, Bruno Chabas, was aware of the payment scheme. Julio Faerman would be the intermediary of the bribery payments to Petrobras since 1999. According to the official justice document, a commission of 3% of these illegal payments has been split between Faerman (1%) and Petrobras employees (2%).