Brazilian authorities on Thursday charged 12 people in relation to improper payments made in deals involving the state oil firm Petrobras, Dutch platform-leasing giant SBM Offshore and other connected parties, according to Reuters.
The alleged corruption is a separate matter from the bigger, more infamous Petrobras bribes-for-inflated-contracts scheme being probed in “Operation Car Wash” although some of the same individuals appear to be involved.
In this case a third-party firm, oil-prospector Petroserv, is alleged to have acted as an intermediary in diverting funds that Petrobras paid to SBM Offshore. Those diverted funds were used to bribe Petrobras officials.
This scheme dates back to 1997, authorities say. Brazilian federal police made arrests in Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba and Angra dos Reis netting former and current officials of Petrobras and Brazil-based agents for SBM.
SBM had seemed to be on the way to rehabilitating itself, having paid a $240m fine to Dutch authorities in November 2014 and then, in September this year, seeing its main subsidiary in Brazil being invited by Petrobras to participate in tenders for FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels) leasing in the Libra and Sepia oil fields.