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Keppel's commercial rep in Brazil hasn't been charged for fraud, illegal cartel activities

KEPPEL Corporation on Thursday said its commercial representative in Brazil Zwi Skornicki has not been charged for illegal cartel activities and fraud against competitive bidding, though there is evidence, according to the Brazilian Public Prosecutor's Office (PP), of such crimes.

This follows allegations that illegal payments had been made by Mr Skornicki in connection with contracts entered into between certain Keppel entities with Petrobras and/or Sete Brasil. Following these allegations, the agency relationship between Keppel's entities and Mr Skornicki has been put on hold.

Keppel said it has obtained a copy of the PP's report on the filing of charges against Mr Skornicki.

"The PP had highlighted in the report that although there was also evidence of illegal cartel activities and fraud against competitive bidding, charges were not being filed against Mr Skornicki for such possible offences at this point in time," Keppel said in a regulatory filing.

Keppel noted earlier reports that Mr Skornicki had been charged with corruption. The PP report showed that apart from corruption, Mr Skornicki has also been charged with criminal conspiracy and money laundering, together with seven other individuals; namely, Pedro Jose Barusco Filho, Renato De Souza Duque, Monica Regina Cunha Moura, Joao Cerqueira de Santana Filho, Joao Vaccari Neto, Joao Carlos De Medeiros Ferraz and Eduardo Costa Vaz Musa.

"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," Keppel said. "We are unable to comment further in view of the ongoing investigations."