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Brazilian court orders Petrobras to withhold payments to SBM Offshore

A federal court in Brazil ordered state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, to provisionally withhold some payments to Dutch-based SBM Offshore NV as a means to secure penalties potentially awarded in a corruption case.

Before making a decision on the amounts to be withheld, the judge is requesting more information from the two companies, according to a July 5 news release.

"The company strongly disagrees with the interim decision, is seeking further clarification and is taking all appropriate measures to defend its interests," SBM Offshore said July 5.

SBM Offshore has been accused of improper sales practices. In November 2017, two former executives pleaded guilty to bribery charges in the United States in regard to several foreign oil companies, including Petrobras.

In 2014, SBM paid $240 million to settle cases in Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Brazil, and in late 2017, the company took a provision of $238 million to settle U.S.-related claims.

Petrobras will shell out $2.95 billion to investors in the U.S. that were affected by the wide-spread corruption scandal known as "Operation Car Wash," dating from 2003 to 2014.