Agent linked to Sembcorp Marine units jailed for 19 years in Brazil corruption probe

SembMarine said Guilherme Esteves de Jesus defended the charges throughout the criminal proceedings against him. PHOTO: SEMBCORP MARINE

SINGAPORE - An agent linked to Sembcorp Marine's Brazilian subsidiaries has been found guilty by a court in Brazil of corruption, money laundering and participation in a criminal organisation.

Guilherme Esteves de Jesus, was sentenced to 19 years and 4 months in prison and also fined by the Federal Courts of Curitiba, SembMarine said in a filing with the Singapore Exchange on Friday (Feb 21). It learnt of the sentencing on Feb 20.

Companies connected to de Jesus were engaged by SembMarine's subsidiaries as consultants in Brazil for drilling unit construction contracts with Brazilian rig supplier Sete Brasil in 2012. Among other things, the charges alleged that de Jesus made certain payments in connection with contracts entered into by SembMarine units in Brazil.

SembMarine said de Jesus defended the charges throughout the criminal proceedings against him.

Further charges have been filed against de Jesus for money laundering by Brazilian federal prosecutors and this proceeding is still ongoing, said SembMarine.

Earlier this month, SembMarine said the former president of its wholly-owned Brazilian unit Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz (EJA), Martin Cheah Kok Choon, was charged in Brazil with money laundering and corruption in connection with the drilling rig contracts.

Cheah's employment with the SembMarine group was terminated in June 2015.

The above charges in Brazil were filed against the two men in their personal capacities, and not against EJA. SembMarine has lodged its own suspicious transaction reports with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force.

SemMarine reiterated in its Friday filing that other than Mr Cheah, it is not aware of any other employee past or present that is a subject of the ongoing investigations by the Brazilian authorities related to Operation Car Wash.

That probe into money laundering in Brazil, first discovered at a car wash in Brasília in 2014, uncovered illegal payments of more than US$5 billion to company executives and political parties. It showed that executives at state oil company Petrobras, for which Sete Brazil was a rig supplier, had accepted bribes from construction firms in return for awarding them contracts at inflated prices.

SembMarine said on Friday that the company and group are committed to the highest standards of compliance with anti-corruption laws and do not condone and will not tolerate any improper business conduct.

In October 2019, SembMarine reached a long-awaited settlement with Sete Brasil for seven drillship contracts worth billions of dollars that were frozen after the Brazilian company was forced to file for bankruptcy amid the sweeping corruption probe.

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