On November 9, 2017, authorities announced two former executives of a Dutch oil and gas services company (the “Company”) pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA before the Honorable David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas.  According to documents filed with the court, former Company CEO Anthony “Tony” Mace and Robert Zubiate, a former sales and marketing executive at a Houston-based subsidiary of the Company, participated in a scheme to bribe officials of the state-owned oil companies of Brazil, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea.  As part of his plea, Mace admitted to joining the previously existing bribery conspiracy upon becoming CEO by authorizing payments in furtherance of the scheme and deliberately avoiding learning that such payments were in fact bribes.  Mace admitted to authorizing the Company to make over $16 million in payments to five individuals despite awareness of a high risk that those individuals were officials of Equatorial Guinea or persons receiving money on their behalf.  Additionally, Mace admitted to continuing a practice started prior to his tenure as CEO that involved paying a portion of an intermediary’s commission to shell-company accounts held in Switzerland and deliberately avoiding learning that the ultimate recipients of those payments were officials of Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras.  Zubiate admitted that he and his co-conspirators used a third-party sales agent to pay bribes between 1996 and 2012 to Petrobras officials in exchange for assistance to the Company and its U.S. subsidiary in winning bids.  Zubiate further admitted to engaging in a related kickback scheme with the sales agent involved in paying bribes.  Sentencing is scheduled for January 31, 2018 for Zubiate and February 1, 2018 for Mace.  In its press release announcing the guilty pleas, the DOJ acknowledged substantial assistance provided by authorities in Brazil, the Netherlands, and Switzerland in gathering evidence during the investigation.  U.S. v. Mace, 17-cr-618 (S.D. Tex.); U.S. v. Zubiate, 17-cr-591 (S.D. Tex.)

DOJ Press Release