SINGAPORE: Singapore-based offshore oil rig builder Keppel on Wednesday (Aug 3) refuted allegations that its top executives authorised the company's former agent in Brazil to pay bribes on its behalf.
Earlier the same day, Bloomberg reported allegations made by Mr Zwi Skornicki in criminal proceedings brought against him in Brazil. Mr Skornicki was cited as saying in court that five top Keppel managers, including current Keppel Offshore and Marine Chief Executive Officer Chow Yew Yuen, authorised him to bribe public officials to win contracts with state-controlled Petrobras, many of which were worth more than a billion dollars.
Keppel said in a media statement: "Keppel strongly denies the allegations reportedly made that Keppel executives authorised Mr Skornicki to pay bribes on its behalf. None of the individuals named in the article, including the current CEO of Keppel Offshore and Marine Mr Chow Yew Yuen, have ever authorised Mr Skornicki to make any payments as bribes."
In a statement posted on the SGX website, the company added: "Keppel reiterates its zero-tolerance stance against any form of illegal activity, including bribery and corruption, involving its employees or associates, and will take all necessary steps to eradicate such conduct if discovered. We are unable to comment further in view of the ongoing investigations."
Skornicki said those who allegedly authorised the kickbacks include a former CEO of Keppel Fels Brasil; the current CEO at Keppel Fels Brasil; and a former Keppel Corp CEO, Bloomberg reported. His testimony was published on a court website as part of the court record,
Skornicki claimed that the kickbacks went to Petrobras officials as well as politicians including Joao Vaccari, who was the treasurer for the Workers’ Party, which ruled Brazil at the time. The party veteran was sentenced last September to 15 years' prison for taking bribes in the Petrobras scheme.