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by January 8, 2018 Health

SINGAPORE, — Singapore does not condone or tolerate corruption and the Government expects all local companies operating overseas to uphold their own standards of integrity, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported, quoting Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law, Indranee Rajah.

Indranee was reportedly responding to questions from Members of Parliament (MPs) in Parliament today about the bribery scandal that has engulfed the rig-building unit of conglomerate, Keppel Corp.

CNA reported that Keppel O and M disclosed on Dec 23 that it would pay a hefty penalty of US$422 million (US$1=RM3.99) as part of a global resolution with authorities in three countries to resolve bribery charges.

Court documents released by the US Justice Department said that Keppel O and M “knowingly and wilfully conspired to bribe Brazilian officials and politicians in exchange for business deals, it reported.

The report also said the illicit payments of US$55 million was made between 2001 to 2014, and helped the company secure 13 contracts from Brazilian oil firms, Petrobas and Sete Brasil.

The bribes were disguised as large commissions to a consultant in Brazil, who in turn made payments to people who had influence over the deal-making, it said.

The latest bribery scandal involving Keppel O and M has raised questions about its corporate governance and caused turbulence, albeit temporarily, on the shares of mainboard-listed Keppel.

Indranee is also reported to have said the government expects all Singapore companies to fully comply with the laws of the country and that of the jurisdictions they operate in.

She said companies should not bring back to Singapore practices that are alien to the norms of the republic, adding, the government cannot be a global policeman.

Given that Singapore companies have to operate in all kinds of environments, they have to do so while keeping their systems clean.

“They must develop their own ways of operating and which allows them to do so. They cannot lower their own standards of integrity and must not bring back bring back to Singapore practices, alien to the norms which we have established with such great effort here,” Indranee was quoted as saying.

In response to Aljunied GRC MP, Sylvia Lim’s question on whether the penalty paid by Keppel O and M is part of a three-nation plea bargain agreement involving the United States, Brazil and Singapore, and Keppel companies, Indranee reportedly said each jurisdiction worked under their domestic laws, while working with the other two countries to reach a global resolution.

Under the global resolution which requires Keppel O and M to pay the US$422.2 million in fines, Keppel O and M will pay about US$105.6 million to the US, including a US$4.7 million criminal fine by Keppel O and M USA.

Brazil will receive US$211.1 million or 50 per cent of the total criminal penalty, and Singapore will receive US$105.6 million or 25 per cent.

A conditional warning has been issued to Keppel O and M in Singapore, with considerations that the company had volunteered findings to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) in September 2016 and cooperated with all three jurisdictions.

The conditional warning also allows Singapore to impose terms closely aligned with the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) that Keppel O and M had reached with the US authorities, Indranee was quoted as saying.