Oil Employee Accused of Bribery in Venezuela

     HOUSTON (CN) – A former manager of one of the world’s largest offshore drilling companies paid more than $400,000 in bribes to extend or secure contracts with Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, the SEC claims in Federal Court.

     “From approximately 2003 to 2005, Joe Summers authorized or allowed payments totaling approximately $384,000 to third-party companies believing that all or a portion of the funds would be given to an official of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company in order to secure extensions of three drilling contracts,” the lawsuit states.
     The SEC claims Summers also authorized a one-off payment of $30,000 to a “mid-level employee” of the government-run oil company to release money that was past-due because of “widespread strikes and civil unrest.”
     When Pride Internal discovered the improper payments, it allegedly notified the SEC and launched an internal investigation.
     Summers allegedly bribed an intermediary claiming to represent an official with Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.
     When Summers left the country in 2004, an agent at Pride’s Venezuela branch kept paying the bribe until June the next year, the SEC claims.
     Jason Rose represents the SEC, which wants Summers to pay a civil penalty for violations of federal securities laws.

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