Keppel refutes latest bribery allegations in Petrobras graft probe

 Keppel’s shipyard in Brazil.
Keppel’s shipyard in Brazil.PHOTO: KEPPEL

SINGAPORE - Keppel Corp has refuted the latest allegations that it was involved in a massive bribery and corruption scandal in Brazil.

In a filing to the Singapore Exchange late Sunday night (July 24), the company said it refuted allegations made by Mr Zwi Skornicki regarding Keppel's involvement in illegal payments made by him.

These allegations were contained in testimony given by Zwi Skornicki on July 21 in connection with the ongoing Lava Jato investigations.

"Lava Jato", Portuguese for "Car Wash" refers to an a corruption investigation begun about two years ago.

Authorities in Brazil are investigating allegations that contractors for its state oil giant Petrobras and its rig supplier Sete Brasil, which include many of the country's largest construction groups as well as foreign companies, paid bribes to the company's executives and politicians in exchange for tens of billions of dollars in contracts.

In earlier court testimonies, Mr Skornichi, a financial middleman, was alleged to have made illegal payments in connection with contracts entered into between certain Keppel entities with Petrobras and/or Sete Brasil.

Keppel had earlier this year put its agency relationship with Mr Skornichi on hold pending determination by the relevant authorities into these allegations.

In its filing on Sunday, Keppel reiterated its zero-tolerance stance against any form of illegal activity, including bribery and corruption, involving its employees or associates, and said it will take all necessary steps to eradicate such conduct if discovered.

"We are unable to comment further in view of the ongoing investigations," Keppel added.