Saturday, October 31, 2020

Former president of Sembcorp Marine unit charged with money laundering

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THE former president of Sembcorp Marine’s (SembMarine) wholly-owned Brazilian subsidiary Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz (EJA), Martin Cheah Kok Choon, has been charged by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Brazil, Ministério Público Federal.

The charges against Cheah are for money laundering and corruption in connection with certain drilling rig construction contracts entered into by SembMarine subsidiaries with Sete Brasil in 2012.

Cheah’s employment with the SembMarine group was terminated in June 2015.

In addition, Guilherme Esteves de Jesus was also charged with money laundering. Companies connected to him were engaged by SembMarine’s subsidiaries as consultants in Brazil.

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SembMarine said on Monday that all such consultancy contracts have been suspended, and remain suspended indefinitely, by the group.

The above charges in Brazil were filed against the two men in their personal capacities, and not against SembMarine’s subsidiary EJA.

In light of these developments, SembMarine will be lodging a further suspicious transaction report with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force.

SembMarine had in July 2019 lodged a suspicious transaction report with the CAD after revealing that its yard in the south-eastern state of Brazil was raided and that Cheah was involved in a corruption probe.

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In October 2019, SembMarine reached a long-awaited settlement with Sete Brasil for seven drillship contracts worth billions of dollars that were frozen after the Brazilian company was forced to file for bankruptcy amid a sweeping corruption probe.

Shares of SembMarine closed down S$0.01 or 0.9 per cent to S$1.16 on Friday.

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