Oil and Gas

Ex-PetroTiger co-CEO avoids prison in bribery case

June 16 (Reuters) - A former co-chief executive of oil services company PetroTiger Ltd was sentenced to probation on Tuesday, a day after his bribery trial ended abruptly when he pleaded guilty to a single conspiracy charge.

Joseph Sigelman was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joseph Irenas in Camden, New Jersey, to serve three years of probation and pay a $100,000 fine and $239,015 in restitution, the office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

Sigelman admitted to conspiring with two former PetroTiger officials, co-Chief Executive Knut Hammarskjold and General Counsel Gregory Weisman, to pay $333,500 in bribes to a former worker at Colombia’s state-owned Ecopetrol SA for help in winning an oil services contract.

The government dropped other charges, including money laundering and violating the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for which Sigelman could have faced decades in prison if convicted. He faced up to one year in prison under his plea agreement.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the case against Sigelman suffered a setback after Weisman told the court last Thursday that he had given false testimony about demands prosecutors made of him related to a cooperation agreement.

Sigelman had been on trial for two weeks. Hammarskjold and Weisman previously pleaded guilty to reduced corruption charges.

A spokesman for Fishman declined to comment.

William Burck, a lawyer for Sigelman, in a statement said his client accepts full responsibility for his role and that the government “made the right call in agreeing to a very generous plea deal.”

Sigelman is a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker.

The case is U.S. v. Sigelman, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 14-cr-00263. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)