Foreign vessels berth alongside the wharf for repairs at the Singapore Keppel Shipyard. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)
SINGAPORE: Keppel Offshore and Marine (Keppel O&M) will pay US$422 million (S$567 million) in fines as part of a global resolution reached with criminal authorities in the US, Brazil and Singapore over corrupt payments made by a former agent in Brazil.
As part of the resolution, Keppel O&M was also issued a conditional warning by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), according to a press release issued by the conglomerate on Saturday (Dec 23).
"These agreements relate to corrupt payments by Mr (Zwi) Skornicki in relation to several KOM projects in Brazil, which were made with knowledge or approval of former KOM executives," it stated.
Investigations showed the payments were made between 2001 and 2014 to officials of Brazilian state-run oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), said the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and CPIB in a joint release issued on the same day.
This was "in order to win contracts with Petrobras and/or its related companies", the release stated. "KOM concealed these corrupt payments by paying commissions to an intermediary, under the guise of legitimate consulting agreements, who then made payments for the benefit of officials of Petrobras and other parties."
Five Singaporeans were among the executives involved, court documents showed. "KOM Executive 1" was a senior executive of Keppel O&M between 2002 and 2014.
"KOM Executive 2" was a senior executive of a Keppel O&M Singapore-based subsidiary between 1989 and 2009, and a Keppel O&M senior executive between 2013 and 2017.
The third, a US permanent resident up until 2013, was a senior executive of Keppel O&M USA between 2002 and 2011, and a Keppel O&M senior executive between 2011 and 2017.
The fourth Singaporean was a Keppel O&M executive between 2002 and 2017, and a Keppel O&M USA executive from 2011 to 2017, while the fifth, "KOM Sub Executive", was a senior executive of a wholly owned, Brazil-based subsidiary of Keppel O&M between 2000 and 2007.
The Singaporeans are no longer under the employment of the conglomerate, a Keppel O&M spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia.
"We are unable to comment on what actions the respective authorities might take against the individuals," the spokesperson added.
KEPPEL O&M GAVE "SUBSTANTIAL COOPERATION": AUTHORITIES
About US$53 million was to be paid to Singapore within 90 days from the date of the conditional warning, said AGC and CPIB, with a further US$53 million due within three years from the date. These payments were part of the total criminal fine.
AGC and CPIB added that in issuing the conditional warning, due consideration was given to the "substantial cooperation" rendered by Keppel O&M to investigations including its own reporting of the corrupt payments, as well as the extensive remedial measures it has taken.
Keppel Corp chairman Dr Lee Boon Yang said the company was "deeply disappointed" by the incident, adding that "global companies such as Keppel have both a legal and moral duty to operate fully within international laws and regulations".
"Since the allegations emerged, we have moved quickly and decisively to put in place stricter controls and embedded best practices across the group to ensure that such unacceptable behaviour will not be repeated," Dr Lee added.
Keppel Corp CEO Loh Chin Hua also said that "effective compliance controls are now thoroughly embedded" across its businesses, "supported by rigorous anti-corruption training and robust compliance and governance regimes".
He said that the global resolution meant Keppel Corp "can draw a line under this difficult issue, which has been a key focus of the board and senior management since the bribery allegations first emerged, and look to the future".
Source: Channel News Asia