Petrobras fined $853m by US authorities

Brazilian energy major Petrobras has agreed to pay a combined total of $853.2m 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.

“Executives at the highest levels of Petrobras—including members of its executive board and board of directors—facilitated the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to Brazilian politicians and political parties and then cooked the books to conceal the bribe payments from investors and regulators,” said assistant attorney general Brian Benczkowski.

Robert Johnson, assistant director at the FBI, commented: “The hefty $853.2m criminal penalty should act as a deterrent to anyone seeking to perpetrate this kind of fraud in the future. This case proves that no company is above the law and that corruption that spans borders will not be tolerated by the United States.”

According to Petrobras’s admissions, while the company’s American Depository Shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, members of the Petrobras executive board were involved in facilitating and directing millions of dollars in corrupt payments to politicians and political parties in Brazil, and members of Petrobras’s board of directors were also involved in facilitating bribes that a major Petrobras contractor was paying to Brazilian politicians.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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