Switzerland has ordered three SBM subsidiaries to pay 7 million francs ($7.5 million) for failing to prevent bribes in Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) found that SBM, from 2006 to early 2012, paid more than $22 million and 1 million euros ($1.12 million) in bribes to public officials. SBM subsidiaries paid them mainly in Angola and Equatorial Guinea, and to a lesser extent in Nigeria.
The bank accounts of SBM Holding Inc SA provided the cash. It paid them through intermediaries, under the cover of false contracts.
"These criminal practices were part of a scheme specifically set up to pay substantial bribes to foreign public officials in order to obtain contracts for the SBM Offshore Group," the OAG statement said.
The OAG named the three subsidiaries SBM Holding Inc. as well as Single Buoy Moorings Inc. and SBM Production Contractors Inc.
Erik Lagendijk, SBM's head of governance and compliance, said the Swiss ordinance closed the issue.
"Today and for many years, the Company has implemented substantial measures to ensure that it operates with integrity and in full compliance with laws, regulations and its compliance standards. These measures have also been recognized by the Swiss prosecution," he said.
Wrap it up
The authorities imposed a fine of 4.2 million francs ($4.5 million), just below the maximum of 5 million francs ($5.37 million). They also ordered SBM to pay another claim of 2.8 million francs ($3 million) on bribes paid to Nigerian officials.
OAG said it had been impossible to claim similar claims on the Angola and Equatorial Guinea charges because the company had already paid compensation for them in Dutch and US proceedings.
The OAG did not have any shortcomings in its own investigation. Its work was not able to establish whether other acts of corruption had taken place, he said.
According to the United States, SBM has paid at least $180 million to state-owned enterprises in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Iraq.