November 19, 2019

FCPA defendant sentenced in Operation Car Wash-related probe

On November 15, 2019, Jeffery Chow, Director of Legal for Keppel Offshore & Marine and a US citizen, was sentenced in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York to one year of probation for his role in a multi-year bribery scheme involving contracts with Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras), the Brazilian state-controlled oil company.  Chow was also ordered to pay a $75,000 fine.  Chow previously pled guilty in 2017 to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.  According to the sentencing memorandum submitted by Chow’s attorneys, by about 2008, Chow realized that Keppel was paying third parties through a Keppel agent in Brazil to gain an unfair advantage in securing contracts with Petrobras.  Chow was responsible for drafting some of the service contracts that formed part of this scheme, although he did not negotiate the bribe payments and did not know the identity of the bribe recipients, according to his lawyers.  Chow admitted to understanding, at the time of the payments, that the contracts he drafted served to give the improper payments an imprimatur of legitimacy.  

The company and a US subsidiary entered into a global settlement with authorities in the US, Singapore and Brazil in December 2017 to resolve investigations of its conduct in Brazil, agreeing to pay over $422 million.