Maersk is accused of paying $3.4m on bribes to get shipping contracts from the Brazilian energy giant, Petrobras, which has been caught up in a multi-billion dollar bribery case for years.
Namely, Maersk has confirmed that its offices in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have been searched by the Brazilian Federal Police, adding that it will fully cooperate with the authorities, in relation to the allegations regarding the payment of bribes to national oil company Petrobras over a 10-year period through to 2012.
What is more, Brazilian authorities said they are also investigating Petrobras’ contracts with local shipbrokers Ferchem and Tide Maritime.
Prosecutors said that “the searches are intended to investigate the provision of insider information that gave companies competitive advantages in return for the payment of bribes to Petrobras employees.”
Early in 2018, Brazil’s state-run oil major Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) agreed to pay USD 2.95 billion, as a settlement to a US class action corruption lawsuit, according to Reuters.
The so-called “Car Wash” corruption involved state-run companies, as well as politicians, and concerned executives allegedly receiving bribes in return for awarding contracts to construction firms at inflated prices since 2014.
In September of 2018, Petrobras agreed with US and Brazilian authorities to pay $853.2 million in penalties to resolve the US government’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with Petrobras’s role in facilitating payments to politicians and political parties in Brazil, as well as a related Brazilian investigation.
Later in 2018, Brazilian prosecutors announced that major oil traders Vitol, Trafigura and Glencore had paid over $30 million in bribes to Petrobras employees. Top executives of the international companies were aware of the bribery involving Petrobras, investigators noted. They also added that said at a news the bribes occurred between 2011 and 2014.
Namely, according to Reuters, Petrobras employees offered these companies lower prices for oil, along with storage tanks, in more than 160 separate operations. After that they shared the savings.
More recently, Samsung Heavy Industries Company Limited (SHI) has agreed to pay penalties amounting to more than $75 million in order to resolve a U.S. government’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The Department of Justice stated that SHI paid millions of dollars to a Brazilian intermediary knowing that some of the money would be used to bribe high-level executives at Petrobras to obtain a shipbuilding contract.
According to Samsung Heavy Industries entries, since 2007 and until 2013, the company collaborated with others to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by providing approximately $20 million in commission payments to a Brazilian intermediate, knowing that portions of the money would be paid as bribes to officials at Petrobras in order to secure improper business advantages and to cause Petrobras to enter into a contract to charter a drill ship that SHI was selling to a Houston-based offshore oil drilling company, which facilitated Samsung Heavy Industries executing the sale of the drill ship.