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Singapore Seeks More Data from Seatrium in 2015 Brazilian Corruption Case

Seatrium Brazilian shipyard
The investigation continues to look at actions more than a decade ago at the company's Brazilian subsidary (

Published Jun 17, 2024 3:12 PM by The Maritime Executive

 


A year after it was first reported that Singapore was launching an investigation into the pre-2015 corruption case involving business activities of Sembcorp Marine and Keppel Offshore & Marine, Seatrium confirmed today that it has had further requests for information. The company which was formed through the merger of the two shipyard companies reported in February 2024 that it had reached settlements in Brazil over the decade-old activities and later agreed to a fine in Singapore.

The company confirmed in a stock exchange filing dated June 15 that it has been informed that the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department are now conducting a joint investigation into offenses potentially committed by the company (formerly Sembcorp Marine Limited) and/or its officers. The MAS and the CAD reportedly requested further information from the company for the purpose of the investigations, with Seatrium saying that it continues to provide its full cooperation to the Singapore authorities.

Known as “Operation Car Wash,” it is part of a widespread corruption investigation in Brazil. Dating back to 2012 contracts awarded to Sembcorp Marine’s Brazilian subsidiary for seven drillship contracts from Brazil’s Sete Brasil valued at $5.6 billion. Two years later, the investigations began in Brazil into allegations of corruption and bribery. It was alleged that bribes were paid to various government officials and to Sete Brasil and Petroleo Brasileiro between 2009 and 2014 to win lucrative contracts for offshore equipment.

An agent working for the company’s Brazilian subsidiary, Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz, was jailed in 2020 on charges of bribery and money laundering, and the former president of Sembcorp Marine’s Brazilian subsidiary, Martin Cheah Kok Choon was also indicted in 2020 on charges of money laundering and corruption. Both executives were later acquitted while Sembcorp Marine later settled with Sete and has also agreed to pay fines in Brazil. The company reported a settlement with the Brazilian authorities in February 2024.

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau of Singapore in June 2023 issued a brief statement confirming that “Acting on information received,” it had commenced investigations “against Seatrium and individuals from Seatrium Limited on alleged corruption offenses that occurred in Brazil.”

Singapore announced in April that it had reached a settlement with Seatrium to pay a fine. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, however, said they were moving forward with the prosecution. They charged the company’s former President, Executive Director, and Chief Executive Officer, Wong Weng Sun, and a former senior director of one of the company’s subsidiaries, Lee Fook Kang, with five charges of conspiring to pay bribes to a then consultant of the company in Brazil. Wong is also being charged with instructing two employees in 2014 to delete emails containing evidence of the bribes.