HOUSTON – Two former executives at a Dutch oil and gas
services company, Anthony “Tony” Mace and Robert Zubiate, pleaded guilty this
week to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for
their roles in a scheme to bribe foreign government officials in Brazil, Angola
and Equatorial Guinea.
Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, Acting Assistant Attorney
General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and
Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson of U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations’ (ICE-HSI) Houston Field Office
made the announcement.
Mace, 65, of the United Kingdom, was the Oil Services
Company’s CEO from 2008 to 2011 and a former board member of one of its
wholly-owned Houston subsidiaries. Zubiate, 66, of California, was a former Texas
and California-based sales and marketing executive at the same subsidiary.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner of the Southern District
of Texas accepted Mace’s guilty plea on Nov. 9 and Zubiate’s guilty plea on
Nov. 6. Sentencing for Mace is scheduled for Feb. 2, and Zubiate for Jan. 31,
As part of his guilty plea, Mace admitted that prior to
becoming CEO, other employees of the Oil Services Company entered into an
agreement to pay bribes to foreign officials including at Brazil’s state-controlled
oil company, Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras), Angola’s state-owned oil
company, Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola, E.P. (Sonangol) and
Equatorial Guinea’s state-owned oil company, Petroléos de Guinea Ecuatorial
(GEPetrol). Mace further admitted he joined the conspiracy by authorizing
payments in furtherance of the bribery scheme and deliberately avoided learning
that those payments were bribes.
Mace admitted he maintained a spreadsheet reflecting
payments to five individuals. Even though he was aware there was a high risk
those individuals were Equatorial Guinean officials or persons receiving money
on behalf or at the direction of those officials, he nevertheless authorized
Oil Services Company to make more than $16 million in payments to those
individuals. Mace further admitted he continued a practice that was instituted
before he became CEO by splitting payments to Oil Services Company’s Brazilian
intermediary - paying a portion of the intermediary’s commission to an account
in Brazil and another portion of the agent’s commission to accounts in
Switzerland held in the name of shell companies. Mace admitted he deliberately
avoided learning that the ultimate recipients of the payments that he
authorized to the shell companies were Petrobras officials.
As part of his plea, Zubiate’s admitted that between 1996
and 2012, he and his co-conspirators used a third-party sales agent to pay
bribes to foreign officials at Petrobras in exchange for those officials’
assisting the Oil Services Company and its U.S. subsidiary with winning bids.
Zubiate also admitted engaging in a kickback scheme with the bribe-paying sales
agent for the Oil Services Company and its U.S. subsidiary.
ICE-HSI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney
Suzanne Elmilady is prosecuting the case along with Trial Attorney Dennis R.
Kihm and Assistant Chief Tarek Helou of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided
substantial assistance in this matter.
The Department of Justice is grateful to Brazil’s Ministério
Público Federal, the Netherlands’ Openbaar Ministerie and Switzerland’s Office
of the Attorney General and Federal Office of Justice for providing substantial
assistance in gathering evidence during this investigation.
The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is responsible for
investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters. Additional information about
the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/foreign-corrupt-practices-act.