The world’s biggest builder of oil rigs, Keppel Offshore and Marine, is paying $422 million to end a US bribery probe into illegal payments to officials at Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras.
The firm paid about $55 million to win 13 contracts with Petrobras and another company. The payments were paid to an intermediary via shell companies and were disguised as consulting agreements.
Prosecutors said the scheme ran for more than a decade and violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Keppel has taken disciplinary action against 17 current and former employees as a result of the case.
Keppel Offshore & Marine USA pleaded guilty, while its parent, Singapore-based Keppel Offshore & Marine, has entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement with the US government. The probe was brought in collaboration with authorities in Singapore and Brazil. Keppel Offshore accepted a conditional warning from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in Singapore and its Brazil unit reached a leniency agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office in Brazil. The $422 million in fines will be allocated between the US, Singapore and Brazil.
Aziz Rahman, founder of Rahman Ravelli, said the case is just the latest involving a major company facing allegations of bribery in a number of countries.
“The right legal help is also essential when it comes to dealing with the authorities in one or more countries should bribery investigations begin. Being able to defend yourself and, where necessary, negotiate with the authorities requires tact and expertise. Such matters cannot be left to chance.
“The past 12 months have seen the likes of Airbus, Rolls-Royce and many energy companies embroiled in major bribery investigations. Prevention has to be seen as a priority.’’
Read our article: AIRBUS AND THE RISKS OF BRIBERY ACROSS BORDERS