Drilling-gear company will pay $238 million in bribery case

Federal officials say a Netherlands-based maker of equipment for offshore oil drilling will pay $238 million to settle charges of paying bribes to officials in five oil-producing countries.

Justice Department officials said Thursday that SBM Offshore N.V.'s U.S. subsidiary pleaded guilty in federal court as part of the settlement.

The government says the company admitted that from at least 1996 to 2012 it paid more than $180 million to intermediaries while knowing some of the money would be used to bribe officials in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Iraq to win business from state-owned oil companies.

The Justice Department says the company gained at least $2.8 billion from projects with the oil companies.

SBM settled with Dutch authorities in 2014 by paying $240 million in fines and forfeited profits.