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Two former oil executives receive multi-year prison terms for FCPA violations

Two former executives of SBM Offshore, N.V. were sent to prison Friday for their role in bribing officials at state-owned oil and gas companies in three countries.

Former CEO of Netherlands-based SBM Offshore Anthony “Tony” Mace, 66, was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $150,000. 

Mace, a UK citizen, was also on the board of SBM’s U.S.-based subsidiary, SBM Offshore USA Inc.

Robert Zubiate, also 66, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay fine of $50,000. He was a sales and marketing executive at SBM USA.

Mace and Zubiate both pleaded guilty last November to bribing officials at Brazil’s Petrobras, Angola’s Sonangol, and Equatorial Guinea’s GEPetrol.

According to Mace’s plea agreement, other employees of SBM initiated the bribes before he became CEO.

On Friday, the DOJ said Mace intentionally avoided determining the nature of the payments, and maintained a spreadsheet reflecting payments of more than $16 million to five people even though he “was aware there was a high risk those individuals were Equatorial Guinean officials.”

In November 2017, SBM agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $238 million to resolve FCPA offenses in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, and Iraq. 

The SFO charged two former SBM executives last November for allegedly funneling bribes to officials in Iraq through a Monaco-based intermediary, Unaoil.

In 2014, SBM paid Dutch authorities $240 million to settle allegations of bribery in Angola, Brazil, and Equatorial Guinea.

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Harry Cassin is the managing editor of the FCPA Blog.

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1 Comment

  1. An interesting angle to this story is the DOJ's press release announcing the prosecutions of last Friday (see https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/oil-services-ceo-and-executive-sentenced-prison-roles-foreign-bribery-scheme). The US Authorities like to pretend I don't exist in public is totally understandable – they credit the re-opening of the investigation of SBM on the Brazilians charging Zubiate in December 2015 and the SBM/Unaoil link (exposed March 2016 if discounting my Wikipedia mention in 2013) – however a private contact like a call to acknowledge it was actually me (with perhaps a "thank you") that caused the FBI to re-open their investigation dating back to when I saw them at the SFO in February 2015 (and many subsequent meetings, including a trip to Washington, calls and e-mails) and provide all the US links to SBM's fraud, raises the eyebrows.

    My experience of the FBI/DOJ has turned out only to be marginally less bad than it was with the FIOD/OM, the very Dutch organisation that kept crucial evidence I gave them away from the Americans causing the FBI/DOJ to halt their SBM investigations in November 2014, and the very Dutch organisation that the DOJ also finds room to thank in the referenced press release!

    The message is, daring to put yourself out there when 99% of others would keep their heads down rather than blow the whistle is not something rewarded in any shape or form with any recognition, public or private, by most prosecutors. The prosecutors busily slap each other on the back and positively publicly mislead what caused a prosecution (or its re-opening) to be successful whilst turning a blind eye to the original source of the cause of the investigation who in this case went through a living hell at great personal cost.

    I almost feel sorry for myself (-;


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