SBM Offshore supervisory board member Sietze Hepkema. Image courtesy of SBM Offshore/Youtube.

SBM Offshore’s CEO Bruno Chabas and supervisory board member Sietze Hepkema have reached an out of court settlement with Brazilian authorities tied to the ongoing Petrobras probe with no admission of guilt.

The company said on Monday that it was informed on January 15 that a Brazilian judge referred the accusations against both men back to the public prosecutor to propose an out-of-court settlement, on a no admission of guilt basis.

Chabas and Hepkema both accepted the offer and were fined about $60,000 each, or about 250.000 Brazilian Reals.

Netherlands-based SBM Offshore said it will pay both fines.

The company added that the this type of settlement is “is common for misdemeanors of the kind alleged” but did not provide more details about the accusations.

“The company emphasizes that this settlement does not involve an admission of guilt and remains of the opinion that the accusations are without merit.  However, SBM Offshore also believes that accepting the settlement offers a pragmatic opportunity to expeditiously resolve this matter that avoids long and costly legal proceedings and allows the company’s management team to concentrate on the business,” SBM Offshore said.

The company’s supervisory board also affirmed its earlier statement in support of Chabas and Hepkema.

The deal, reached on January 22, must still be confirmed by the judge handling the case.

No date has been set yet for the deal’s confirmation, the company added.

The settlement comes over a year after SBM Offshore agreed to pay $240 million to Dutch authorities to settle allegations that it bribed government officials in Angola, Brazil and Equatorial Guinea.

An internal investigation conducted by SBM Offshore in 2014 found “certain red flags” in Brazil but “did not find any credible evidence that the company or the company’s agent made improper payments to government officials (including state company employees).”

The company said last month that it was seeking clarification about media reports that Chabas and Hepkema appeared on a list of former Petrobras executives, former sales agents and former SBM Offshore executives who may be prosecuted in Brazil in relation to the Petrobras corruption scandal.

In response to those media reports, SBM Offshore said it believes those allegations are without merit.


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