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SBM Offshore settles corruption case in Brazil

Dutch engineering firm SBM Offshore NV has reached a settlement in a corruption case in Brazil, which will pave the way for the company to pursue new business in the country, according to a July 26 news release.

SBM Offshore will pay a total of $189 million, of which $148 million will go to state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, in civil fines and compensation for alleged damages related to a case accusing SBM Offshore of improper sales practices. Additionally, SBM Offshore said previously agreed performance bonuses worth about $180 million will not be paid until 2030.

In November 2017, two former executives pleaded guilty to bribery charges in the United States in regard to several foreign oil companies, including Petrobras.

"The company is invited back to participate in Petrobras' tenders under equal conditions as other bidders," SBM Offshore said in the news release.

In early July, a federal court in Brazil ordered Petrobras to provisionally withhold some payments to SBM Offshore as a means to secure penalties potentially awarded in the corruption case.

In 2014, SBM Offshore 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 itself 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.