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FCPA Blog Daily News

« Former Hong Kong official pleads not guilty, denied bail | Main | Daniel Johnson: What do Brits really think of business? »
Monday
Jan082018

Keppel employees may face criminal prosecution in Singapore, government says

Singapore's Indranee Rajah blasts KeppelA top Singapore official told parliament Monday that Keppel employees are still being investigated by Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and could face criminal charges.

Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah said "the Public Prosecutor will determine whether to prosecute them after investigations are completed,"according to a report from Singapore's Mediacorp.

Singapore always ranks as one of the world's cleanest countries on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index.

But in December, Keppel Corporation's shipbuilding unit and a U.S. subsidiary admitted violating the FCPA. The companies agreed with the DOJ to pay $422 million in penalties to authorities in the United States, Brazil, and Singapore.

The Singapore government owns about 20 percent of Keppel through its sovereign wealth fund, Temasek Holdings.

Jeffrey Chow, 59, a former lawyer at Keppel Offshore & Marine, pleaded guilty in August last year to an FCPA conspiracy. The American citizen worked at the company in Singapore for more than 25 years.

Keppel Offshore admitted paying $55 million in bribes to officials in Brazil during a decade-long scheme. It won about $1 billion in contracts.

The company is the world's biggest builder of offshore oil and gas rigs.

The U.S. plea agreement (pdf) said Keppel Offshore imposed $8.9 million in financial sanctions on 12 former or current employees.

Seven employees involved in the misconduct have left the firm.

Seven others at Keppel Offshore were demoted or given written warnings for failing to detect the misconduct or take appropriate steps to mitigate corruption risks.

In 2016 court testimony in Brazil, Keppel Offshore's agent, Zwi Skornicki, named five top executives he said authorized him to pay bribes on behalf of the company. They included two former executives from Keppel Corporation and three from the Keppel Offshore unit.

On Monday, Rajah told parliament the government is “extremely disappointed” about the corruption at Keppel.

She warned firms not to “import” corrupt practices into Singapore, according to the local report.

The government has zero tolerance for corruption and Singapore companies "cannot lower their own standards of integrity” when they operate in foreign countries, Rajah said.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

Reader Comments (2)

Interesting to see Singapore get upset over the Keppel affair yet no mention of what steps have been taken at Keppel to improve its compliance programme and culture. Further, no word or suggestion on improving Whistleblower rights and protections. There is currently no protection nor incentive disclose or report compliance breaches such as bribery due to the risk of criminal and civil sanctions under Singapore’s heavy defamation laws. Singapore has traditionally chased corporate bribery where a kitchen hand or chef receives kickbacks from a veggie seller, this typically makes the front pages of the Straits Times alongside a tale of a cat up a tree. Although for CPI purposes bribery may not actually occur onshore in Singapore, Singapore companies are active facilitators of offshore bribery and their banks are willing recipients of the funds used or profits gained therefrom.
January 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBill Winters
Apologies, correction, "... for "TPI" purposes bribery may not ..."
January 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBill Winters
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