Man linked to drillship contracts charged in Brazil

Sembcorp Marine confirmed yesterday that the Brazilian authorities have charged an individual over alleged illegal payments linked to drillship contracts won by the company's units.

President and chief executive Wong Weng Sun told a results briefing that Guilherme Esteves de Jesus has been charged with various offences connected to these contracts.

Mr Wong declined to comment when asked about the nature of the relationship between de Jesus and SembMarine and its subsidiaries.

In a March 2015 disclosure that came after de Jesus' arrest, SembMarine described the man as "connected to companies" engaged by the yard group's subsidiaries. These firms served as consultants in connection with the Sete Brasil drillship contracts awarded to the subsidiaries.

Mr Wong said de Jesus is defending the charges, adding that the company is not aware of any of its employees being implicated by any authority.

SembMarine initiated an internal investigation over the allegations raised in the March 2015 disclosure, but this is ongoing and remains legally privileged, he added.

Mr Wong also maintained that the $329 million provision made for the Sete Brasil drillship contracts remains adequate.

In a March 2015 disclosure that came after de Jesus' arrest, SembMarine described the man as "connected to companies" engaged by the yard group's subsidiaries. These firms served as consultants in connection with the Sete Brasil drillship contracts awarded to the subsidiaries.

SembMarine's US$5.5 billion (S$7.3 billion) worth of drillship contracts with Sete Brasil have come under renewed attention after Keppel Offshore & Marine announced about US$422 million in fines for corrupt payments made to win contracts in Brazil.

The Sete Brasil contracts worth around US$10 billion that were awarded to SembMarine and Keppel O&M have also come under review in a United States Department of Justice probe.

Tan Hwee Hwee

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2018, with the headline 'Man linked to drillship contracts charged in Brazil'. Print Edition | Subscribe