Keppel acts against staff in bribery scandal

Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) is set to pay US$422 million (S$565 million) in fines as part of a global resolution in relation to corrupt payments made by a former company agent in Brazil.
Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) is set to pay US$422 million (S$565 million) in fines as part of a global resolution in relation to corrupt payments made by a former company agent in Brazil. PHOTO: REUTERS

Ex-lawyer for Keppel O&M reported to have pleaded guilty and cooperated with US probe

Keppel has taken disciplinary action against employees involved in its rig-building unit's bribery scandal in Brazil, including meting out financial penalties.

It has also "separated" with all the executives defined as "relevant individuals" in the statement of facts that was released earlier by the authorities behind the graft probe.

A Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) spokesman confirmed this yesterday, although he did not disclose more on the financial penalties, or when the company separated from the individuals.

"For legal reasons, Keppel is unable to comment on any individual employee or the specific penalties imposed against the individuals," he told The Business Times.

Keppel O&M is set to pay US$422 million (S$565 million) in fines as part of a global resolution in relation to corrupt payments made by a former company agent in Brazil.

The settlement involved the authorities in the United States, Brazil and Singapore.

At least six former employees of Keppel O&M have been implicated, including some from the company's US and Brazil operations, according to US court documents.

The papers stated that Keppel O&M had paid US$55 million in bribes to officials in Brazil's state-owned oil giant Petrobras and the Workers Party of Brazil, the governing political party at the time, to win 13 contracts with Petrobras and Sete Brasil.

Keppel O&M earned US$351.8 million through the bribery scheme.

Meanwhile, fresh court documents out on Tuesday, US time, showed that a former Keppel O&M lawyer had pleaded guilty and cooperated with the US authorities.

Jeffrey Chow, a former senior member of Keppel O&M's legal department, cut a deal with prosecutors, said a Reuters report, citing documents unsealed in the federal court in Brooklyn.

Chow, 59, pleaded guilty on Aug 29 to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and admitted to drafting contracts that were used to make bribe payments, according to court records.

"I am deeply sorry for my conduct," Chow said during his plea hearing, according to a transcript.

He said he drafted contracts with a Keppel agent in Brazil who he realised was being overpaid by millions of dollars so that he could bribe Brazilian officials.

"I should have refused to draft the contract that we used for paying bribes and I should have resigned from Keppel," he said.

Court records state that Chow, a US citizen, has a residence in Singapore and worked for the company for more than 25 years.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 2.

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2017, with the headline 'Keppel acts against staff in bribery scandal'. Print Edition | Subscribe