International Business & Economy S'pore ambassador named in Brazilian court in graft probe

S’pore ambassador named in Brazilian court in graft probe




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By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond

International news agency Bloomberg reported last week that Keppel’s 3rd party commercial representative in Brazil, Zwi Skornicki, had told a Brazilian court that top executives in Keppel authorized him to pay bribes so as to win contracts with the state-controlled Brazilian Petroleum Corporation (Petrobras).

In the court proceeding held on 21 Jul, Mr Skornicki told the judge that 5 Keppel top executives were involved. Mr Skornicki alleged that the 5 knew about and authorized the bribes to the Brazilian officials (

One of the 5 named was Choo Chiau Beng, the former Keppel Corp CEO and current non-resident ambassador to Brazil.

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Who is Choo Chiau Beng?

Mr Choo Chiau Beng (BBM) was the CEO of Keppel Corporation from 2009 to 2013. Upon his retirement on 1 January 2014, he was appointed Senior Advisor to the Board of Keppel Corporation.

Mr Choo was awarded the Colombo Plan Scholarship to study Naval Architecture at the University of Newcastle in the late 60s. In 2009, he was conferred Doctor of Civil Law by his alma mater. He is a member of Wharton Society of Fellows at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr Choo started his career with Keppel Shipyard as a Ship Repair Management Trainee in 1971 and was appointed Executive Director of Singapore Slipway in 1973. In 1975, when Keppel set up its shipyard in the Philippines, he was posted there to assume the position of Executive Vice President and CEO of the company for a period of four years. He joined Keppel FELS in 1980 as Assistant General Manager and was appointed as director to the board of the company. He was promoted to Deputy Managing Director in November 1981 and to Managing Director in March 1983. In 1994, he was appointed Deputy Chairman and in 1997, Chairman of the company.

Mr Choo became the Chairman and CEO of Keppel Offshore & Marine after its formation from the integration of Keppel FELS and Keppel Hitachi Zosen in 2002. He relinquished the position of CEO of Keppel Offshore & Marine in 2009 when he became the CEO of Keppel Corporation till 2013.

He is also a Board Member of Energy Studies Institute, National University of Singapore (NUS) and National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office; a Board and Council Member of American Bureau of Shipping; the Chairman of Centre for Maritime Studies, NUS and the Council Member of Singapore of ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE). He is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Raffles Institution; a member of Singapore University of Technology and Design’s Board of Trustees; a Management Board member of Institute for Engineering Leadership, NUS; a member of the Advisory Board for the Centre for Liveable Cities and the Latin American Chamber of Commerce (LATAMCHAM).

In addition, he sits on the investment board of GIC and is also the Chairman of M1 board.

He is currently Singapore’s non-resident ambassador to Brazil:
2Mr Choo has won many honors and awards:

• Public Service Star Award (BBM) in August 2004
• The Meritorious Service Medal in 2008
• Outstanding Chief Executive Award, Singapore Business Award in 2001
• NTUC Medal of Commendation (Gold) Award in May 2007
• International Maritime Centre (Individual) Award, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore in 2009
• NBAS Award, Norwegian Business Association (Singapore) in 2010
• CEO of the Year, Singapore Corporate Awards in 2010
• SIAS Awards – Brendon Wood TopGun CEO Designation for Singapore CEOs, Securities Investors Association (Singapore) & Brendon Woods in 2012
• 11th Asia Business Leaders Awards – Corporate Social Responsibility Award, CNBC in 2012

Meanwhile, Keppel issued a terse statement on 3 Aug, denying all of Skornicki’s allegations made against the company. Keppel said that it “strongly denies the allegations reportedly made that Keppel executives authorized Mr Skornicki to pay bribes on its behalf”. It added that none of the 5 individuals named in the article have ever authorized Mr Skornicki to make any payments as bribes.

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