Petrobras Fined $1.78 Billion for FCPA Violations

Recently, Brazil’s state energy company, Petrobras, was investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities Exchange Commision (SEC) for FCPA violations related to political bribes in Brazil.  According to the SEC’s Steven Peikin, Petrobras fraudulently facilitated money through a “massive, undisclosed bribery and corruption scheme.”  The company confessed to the bribery and stated that their executives did not comply with internal financial and accounting controls.  This fraudulent behavior and lack of due diligence led to millions of dollars being laundered into Brazilian politics.

The DOJ finalized their investigation with Petrobras last month with a non-prosecution agreement and the SEC settled with an internal administrative order.  Through the DOJ settlement, Petrobras will pay $853.2 million in criminal penalties and $933.5 million in disgorgement for a total of $1.78 billion, which is the biggest FCPA enforcement action to date.

The resolution in Brazil was signed as a consent agreement with Ministerio Publico Federal (MPF) and, per the settlement agreement, 80% of the fine ($682.5 million) will be put into a special fund in Brazil to be used in specific circumstances in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement.  Under the US class action, Petrobras agreed to pay $2.95 billion.  The company believes this agreement will terminate any risky activity or behavior, ultimately lowering costs of potential litigation in the US.


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