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“Stern Warnings”

Emoticon saying no with his finger

In late 2017 Keppel Offshore & Marine resolved an FCPA enforcement action concerning conduct in Brazil. (See here for the prior post). The enforcement action against Keppel was believed to be the first FCPA enforcement action ever against a company based in Singapore. In resolving the net $105.5 million FCPA enforcement action, Keppel agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement.

As highlighted in this prior post, Jeffrey Chow (a U.S. citizen and Tulane educated lawyer who had various positions in the legal department of KOM) was also criminally charged in connection with the Keppel Offshore & Marine Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action.

Thereafter, in connection with both the Keppel enforcement action (and a related enforcement action against TechnipFMC) the DOJ also criminally charged Zwi Skornicki (a citizen of Brazil) with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions. According to the DOJ, Skornicki and others “knowingly and willfully conspired to pay, and paid, approximately $55 million in bribes in connection with at least 13 projects in Brazil tendered by Petrobras and, later, a company that employed several former Petrobras officials.”

Recently, Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (“CPIB”) – in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (“AGC”) “issued stern warnings … to six individuals who were formerly senior management staff of Keppel Offshore & Marine Limited (“KOM”) … “in lieu of prosecution for offences punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act (“PCA”).”

As stated in the release:

“The offences relate to bribe payments to officials of Brazilian state-owned corporation Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (“Petrobras”), pertaining to rigs-building contracts which Petrobras and/or its related companies had awarded to KOM. Under the global resolution led by the Department of Justice of the United States of America and involving Brazil and Singapore, a conditional warning in lieu of prosecution was issued to KOM for offences punishable under the PCA. KOM has paid a total fine of US$422 million and fulfilled all obligations under the conditional warning.

CPIB conducted investigations into the six individuals who had allegedly conspired with each other to give bribe payments totalling about US$55 million to foreign consultants involved in KOM’s business interests in Brazil. These consultants then used these monies to pay bribes to Petrobras officials.

This case is complex and transnational, involving multiple authorities and witnesses from several countries. There are evidentiary difficulties in cases of such nature. Many of the documents are located in different jurisdictions. In addition, key witnesses are located outside of Singapore and cannot be compelled to give evidence here. The decision whether to prosecute the six individuals for criminal offences has to take into consideration all relevant factors, such as the culpability of each individual, the available evidence and what is appropriate in the circumstances. Having taken these into consideration, stern warnings were issued to the six individuals.”


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