U.S. Department of Justice closes Vantage Drilling bribery probe

Offshore drilling contractor Vantage Drilling International said on Wednesday an investigation into the company’s possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act regarding alleged improper payment in Brazil had been completed.

The company said it had received a letter from the United States Department of Justice  acknowledging Vantage’s full cooperation in the DOJ’s investigation concerning possible violations by Vantage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and indicating that the DOJ has closed its investigation without any action.

Vantage reminded that the investigation had been launched in 2015 from allegations of improper payments to former officials of Brazil’s national oil company Petrobras in connection with the contracting of the Titanium Explorer drillship to Petrobras.

Ihab Toma, Vantage’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are very pleased with the closure of the DOJ’s investigation. Vantage has been, and remains, firmly committed to conducting its operations in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including the FCPA.”

It is the Company’s understanding that the parallel investigation by the SEC remains open at this time, and Vantage continues to cooperate with the SEC with regard to that investigation, Vantage said.

To remind, in July 2015 news broke out that Brazilian police had arrested a former Petrobras official, Jorge Zelada, who allegedly received bribes related to drilling rig contracts.

According to Reuters, which then cited Prosecutor Carlos Fernando dos Santos Lima, Zelada, who was a director of the Petrobras international branch between 2008 and 2012, had been accused of possibly having taken bribes on a drilling contract for the Vantage Drilling-owned Titanium Explorer drillship.

Vantage denied the allegations saying there was “no evidence that would substantiate any allegation of improper activity by Vantage in connection with the award of the contract,” and any suspicion of some form of wrongdoing by Vantage was without merit.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

 

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