Photo from project webpage of Keppel FELS Brasil

Key executives of Keppel Offshore & Marine arrested to assist in investigation by CPIB

According to Straits Times, several former key executives of Keppel Corp and its offshore and marine units were arrested to assist in investigations into the bribery offences involving Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M).

ST reports that more than six connected to the case have been arrested by Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and out on bail. One of those arrested is Mr Tay Kim Hock, former president and chief executive of Keppel Fels Brasil, a wholly owned unit of Keppel O&M.

Mr Tay was president and chief executive of Keppel Fels Brasil from June 2000 to October 2007.

The matter will be referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to decide if charges are to be filed.

When asked on Tuesday if several individuals had been arrested, both the AGC and the CPIB declined comment. ST also noted that Keppel O&M’s spokesman saying: “We are unable to comment on any investigations by the authorities.”

It is unknown if Mr Choo Chiau Beng. a former Keppel Corp CEO named in the US charges, who was also Singapore’s non-resident ambassador to Brazil from 2004 to 2016, had been arrested by CPIB.

As stated in US court documents, it was found that Keppel O&M, a subsidiary of Keppel Corporation, paid US$55 million in bribes, from 2001 to 2014, to secure contracts with Brazilian oil giant Petrobras. The government-linked company reached a global resolution with law enforcement agencies in the US, Brazil and Singapore by paying US$422.2 million (S$554 million) in fines.

Keppel Fels Brasil also reached a leniency agreement with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Brazil.

In Singapore, Keppel O&M accepted a conditional warning from the CPIB. This was issued in lieu of prosecution for corruption offences punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, and part of the global resolution, said the AGC and the CPIB. But the authorities also said then that “investigations in respect of the individuals involved are ongoing”.

Senior Minister of State for Law, Ms Indranee Rajah earlier said in Parliament that while CPIB decided to give a conditional warning to KOM in lieu of prosecution because:

  • It had voluntarily reported its internal findings to CPIB and AGC in September 2016,
  • cooperated with all three jurisdictions in the investigation and resolution process,
  • indicated that it will voluntarily agree to the US DPA and the Brazilian leniency agreement,
  • and that the key elements of this case, in particular the recipients of the bribes and the projects connected with the bribes, occurred outside Singapore, and the jurisdictions concerned are also acting against KOM, in coordination with Singapore.

But while the company is let off with just a conditional warning, Ms Indranee said, “With respect to the individuals, as I have explained in my earlier reply, investigations are still on-going. That outcome has not been determined. Nobody has got off or not got off, as the case may be. That is something that the Public Prosecutor has to decide, and I have explained some of the challenges that the Public Prosecutor is facing in terms of getting the evidence. But that is something we have to let the Public Prosecutor deal with independently.”