November 22, 2019

Samsung Heavy Industries enters into resolution for FCPA offenses in Brazil

On November 22, 2019, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with Samsung Heavy Industries Company Limited (SHI), a South Korean construction and engineering company, in connection with an investigation into violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  According to the criminal information filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, between 2007 and 2013 SHI paid approximately $20 million in “commissions” to two Brazilian intermediaries, knowing that some of the money would be used to bribe officials at Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled energy company, in exchange for these officials causing Petrobras to agree to charter a drilling vessel constructed by SHI.

Pursuant to the DPA, Samsung will pay a criminal penalty of $75.4 million.  SHI will pay half of this amount directly to the US government.  SHI will pay the other half to the Brazilian government as part of a potential resolution, if one is agreed to by November 25, 2020.  If no agreement is reached by then, SHI will instead also pay the remaining half to the US government.  In addition, the company has agreed to continue cooperating with the DOJ, to enhance its compliance program, and to report to the DOJ regarding the implementation of its enhanced compliance program.  SHI did not receive self-disclosure credit and received only partial credit for cooperating in the investigation, due to “its failure to meet reasonable deadlines imposed by” the DOJ.  The company received credit for conducting a thorough internal investigation and significant remediation.  As a result, the criminal penalty represents a 20 percent reduction off the low end of the US sentencing guidelines.

The Brazilian entities investigating the company are the Controladoria-Geral da União (CGU), Advogado-Geral da União (AGU) and Ministério Público Federal (MPF).  Neither the CGU, AGU nor the MPF has yet published information about an agreement with SHI.  

DOJ press release | DPA | Criminal information