Three businessmen each jailed 27 weeks for bribing Apple supply manager

An Apple store in New York.
An Apple store in New York.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Three directors and shareholders of a machine parts manufacturer paid more than US$300,000 in bribes to Apple's former global supply manager over 10 months, making around US$12.4 million worth of sales to the technology giant.

Tan Thiam Chye, 58, Tan Kah Huat, 47, and Chuow Chun Lim, 46, were each jailed for 27 weeks on Friday (March 18). Each admitted to three corruption charges and had six others taken into consideration.

The trio, who owned Fastening Technology, also gave Andrew Ang Kok Kiat, then a sales director of Jin Li Mould, $180,000 in corrupt rewards in return for assisting them with bribing American Paul Shim Devine.

As Apple's global supply manager, Devine was responsible for developing and managing relationships with various companies that supply parts and materials for Apple iPod and headset enclosures.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelvin Kow said that in late 2008, Ang told a Fastening member of staff that he could help the company get business from Apple in return for a 3 per cent commission on the negotiated contract price. The trio agreed to the proposal.

Fastening was later awarded Apple projects.

Subsequently, Ang told the trio that they needed to pay a "commission" to Devine in return for the projects awarded. They agreed to do so.

In January 2010, Devine set up a shell company called CPK Engineering in California, which was used to receive corrupt bribes from Fastening. The "commission" payments were meant to be paid to Devine in return for helping them secure projects from Apple.

The trio paid a total of US$383,295 to Devine, of which US$376,295 was calculated as 3 per cent of sales Fastening made to Apple.

Defence counsel Anand Nalachandran said his clients did not initiate the corruption.

He said the trio had invested years of energy and and effort to establish the FT group which was previously recognised as a Top 50 Enterprise.

Ang, 41, has since completed his 12-month sentence for corruption. Devine was jailed for 12 months and fined US$4.5 million in the United States last year for wire fraud, money-laundering and carrying out transactions with "criminally derived property".

The maximum penalty for corruption is a $100,000 fine and five years' jail.