Brazil acquitted former Sembcorp Marine executive for money laundering, corruption charges

Brazil’s ongoing investigation related to “Operation Car Wash” has taken a new twist with two executives acquitted of charges filed by the Brazilian Federal Prosecutors’ Office.

Singapore-based Seatrium, the former Sembcorp Marine, said in a statement that Martin Cheah Kok Choon, the former president of Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz Ltda (EJA), a subsidiary of the company in Brazil, and Guilherme Esteves de Jesus (GDJ), a former consultant engaged by EJA in Brazil, had both been acquitted.

The company explains that the charges filed against Martin Cheah and GDJ by the MPF were in their personal capacities and not against Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz Ltda, the company’s Brazilian subsidiary.

Sembcorp Marine on June 4, 2020 in an update said that the Federal Justice Court of Curitiba accepted the complaint offered by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) in Paraná against Guilherme Esteves de Jesus (GDJ) for money laundering and the ex-employee Martin Cheah Kok Choon (Martin Cheah) for money laundering and corruption in connection with certain drilling rig construction contracts placed in 2012.

Martin Cheah is the former president of Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz Ltda (EJA), the company’s Brazilian subsidiary whose employment with the Sembcorp Marine Ltd (SCM group) was terminated in June 2015.

Seatrium, which provides engineering solutions to the global offshore, marine and energy industries, said that under Brazilian law the Brazilian Federal Prosecutors’ Office (MPF) may appeal this decision.

“The potential outcome of Operation Car Wash is still uncertain, and the company cannot predict how the abovementioned decision by the Brazilian Federal Lower Court will impact the current investigations or allegations relating to Operation Car Wash.”

“The company also has no control over and cannot predict whether investigations by the Brazilian authorities will lead to new allegations or investigations,” Seatrium added.

Seatrium, which continues to provide its full cooperation to the Brazilian authorities, said it 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”.

The company noted that it remains “committed to the highest standards of compliance with the anti-corruption laws and does not condone and will not tolerate any improper business conduct”.