Late last week Dutch media began reporting on alleged corruption practices involving SBM Offshore deals in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and other countries. The info was apparently published by a former employee of the company on the SBM Offshore company profile page on Wikipedia. On Friday February 7th, the company issued the following statement:
“Recent media reports have picked up a publication that was brought to the Company’s attention last week, and was first posted on the internet October 18, 2013. The publication shows great similarity to an e-mail attachment the Company received from a former employee shortly before the publication was posted online. The former employee concerned left the Company in June 2012 on the basis of a mutually agreed upon termination initiated by himself.
Following his departure, the Company had no contact with the employee until March 2013. At that time, the employee attempted extortion by threatening to make disclosures based on his interpretation of certain materials he had illegally obtained or retained. A representative of the employee indicated that he would be prepared not to do so if the Company would make payments in the amount of some €3 million.
SBM Offshore refused to entertain the former employee’s threat. Upon being notified of the Company’s decision, the publication was posted on Wikipedia. The Company will be taking steps against the former employee. The allegations now made by the former employee relate to an ongoing investigation into potentially improper sales practices. The investigation is being conducted by outside counsel and forensic accountants which has been publicly disclosed and of which the competent authorities and investors have been informed by the Company for over eighteen months. The Company remains in active dialogue with these authorities. As mentioned by the Company in its comments to yesterday’s 2013 earnings release, the investigation centers around potentially improper sales practices in two countries in Africa, and in one other country outside of Africa. As previously stated, it is not yet possible to provide further information or an estimate of the potential outcome, financial or otherwise.
The document published on the internet is not a Company produced document. Since the investigation is still ongoing, SBM Offshore cannot comment on its contents, however it is safe to note that it is partial, taken out of context and to the extent factually correct, is outdated. As such, it is not representative of the facts as the Company understood them then, or understands them now. The Company denies any allegations of containment.”