Keppel Offshore & Marine sued for over $1 billion in US over investment loss

The claims are over Keppel Offshore & Marine's allegedly aiding and abetting the fraud committed against EIG. SCREENGRAB: KEPPEL OFFSHORE & MARINE'S WEBSITE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Keppel Corporation reported that its offshore and marine subsidiary, Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM), is facing a lawsuit in the United States with a claim that has been quantified at US$819.85 million (S$1.1 billion) including interest over the loss of an investment.

However, the mainboard-listed conglomerate said that KOM's US counsel believes it has "very good defences" to the claim, Keppel Corp said in an update to the Singapore Exchange on Monday (Oct 25) on the lawsuit from EIG Energy Fund XIV, which are eight investment funds managed by EIG Management Company.

It said a summary judgment has been sought by both EIG Energy Fund XIV and KOM on the claim of US$819.85 million, including US$442.22 million in punitive damages and US$156.52 million as pre-judgment interest in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

However, a date for the hearing has not been fixed, while the relevant legal documents for the application are due on Nov 2.

Keppel also said parties can apply for a summary judgment under the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as a matter of law based on undisputed facts. It also said the court, when hearing a summary judgment motion, must construe the facts in the light most favourable to the other party, and must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the applicant.

It added: "In this case, there are many disputed facts concerning the plaintiffs' claim for aiding and abetting fraud, particularly with respect to reliance, causation and damages. On that basis, KOM's US counsel's assessment is that there is a very low risk that the court would award any damages to the plaintiffs on summary judgment."

KOM had the court earlier throw out one of the plaintiffs' two causes of action: a claim for three times the damages under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Keppel had earlier said the claims are over KOM's allegedly aiding and abetting the fraud committed by Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) and Sete Brasil Participacoes against EIG.

KOM had reached a US$422 million settlement with US prosecutors regarding the scheme.

Keppel shares were trading down 12 cents, or 2.2 per cent, at $5.36 at 2.04pm on Tuesday, after the announcement.

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