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Singapore files more charges against Shell oil theft suspects

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by January 15, 2018 General

Suspects, part of a group of 17 detained over their part in an alleged oil theft at Shell's Pulau Bukom refinery, arrive in a van at the State Courts, Singapore January 9, 2018 in this picture by Nuria Ling/TODAY. — Reuters picSuspects, part of a group of 17 detained over their part in an alleged oil theft at Shell’s Pulau Bukom refinery, arrive in a van at the State Courts, Singapore January 9, 2018 in this picture by Nuria Ling/TODAY. — Reuters picSINGAPORE, Jan 15 — A Singapore court this morning filed additional charges against nine men accused in a large-scale oil theft at Shell’s biggest refinery, the latest development in an extensive investigation in the city-state.

The nine Singaporean men, eight of whom were employees of the Singapore subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, faced initial charges in court last week alongside two Vietnamese nationals, who are due at court tomorrow.

At least one additional charge was brought against each of the Singaporean men this morning, court documents showed.

Charges against three other men on Saturday accused people at Sentek Marine & Trading Ptem, one of Singapore’s biggest marine fuel suppliers, of participating in the scheme, which involves incidents going back months.

The public prosecutor, Stephanie Chew, said this morning the three men charged on Saturday were not part of an initial 17 the police arrested early last week, bringing the total number of known arrests in relation to the case to 20.

Chew would not comment on the remaining six arrested who are yet to be charged.

The Singapore subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc first contacted the authorities in August 2017 about theft at its Pulau Bukom industrial site, just south of the country’s main island.

Police have seized millions of dollars in cash and a small tanker in the sting operation involving simultaneous raids across Singapore, one of the world’s most important oil trading centres and a major refinery hub.

Experts say illicit oil trading is widespread in Southeast Asia, where stolen fuel is sold across the region, often offloaded directly into trucks or tanks at small harbours away from oil terminals.

This is the second high-profile case of wrongdoing at companies in Singapore to hit headlines in recent weeks.

In December, Keppel Corporation Ltd’s KPLM.SI rig-building business agreed to pay more than US$422 million (RM1.2 billion) to resolve charges it had bribed Brazilian officials. — Reuters

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