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July 3, 2019

Police search Sembcorp Marine’s Brazil shipyard

Offshore engineering group Sembcorp Marine has reported that Brazilian authorities executed a search warrant on a subsidiary of the company in Brazil.

By Umar Ali

Singapore-based global marine and offshore engineering group Sembcorp Marine has reported that Brazilian authorities executed a search warrant on a subsidiary of the company in Brazil.

The search warrant on Estaliero Jurong Aracruz (EJA) was in connection with ongoing investigation related to the Operation Car Wash corruption case, in relation to investigations against former EJA consultant Guilherme Esteves de Jesus. De Jesus has been arrested by the Brazilian federal police and is currently facing ongoing criminal charges.

The Operation Car Wash investigations also involve former EJA president Martin Cheah Kok Choon. Sembcorp Marine stated that it has provided materials to aid with the investigation within the scope of the warrant and co-operated fully with the Brazilian federal police.

Named after the car wash that the operation was first discovered in in 2014, the Car Wash corruption scandal saw Brazilian multinational Petrobras accused of bribing Brazilian political parties and politicians, and trying to conceal these payments from investors and regulatory agencies.

The US Department of Justice described the scandal as “the largest foreign bribery case in history,” with $2.1bn siphoned from Petrobras in secret payments and bribes.

Sembcorp Marine was first implicated in the scandal in February 2015, when former Petrobras engineering manager Pedro Jose Barusco alleged that de Jesus was connected to illegal payments made to Petrobras, resulting in de Jesus’ arrest in March 2015.

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In a statement, Sembcorp Marine said: “The Company wishes to reiterate that the Group is committed to the highest standards of compliance with anti-corruption laws and does not condone and will not tolerate any improper business conduct.

“The Group has a strict compliance program and continuously works to ensure that policies and procedures are in place to prevent any violation of any anti-corruption laws applicable to our operations.

“The Company will continue to monitor developments in Brazil and other jurisdictions with respect to this matter, and will make appropriate announcements in the event of any material developments.”

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