SINGAPORE (July 30): Sembcorp Marine has remained tight-lipped in response to questions about a search conducted by local authorities at the premises of its subsidiary in Brazil.

See: Police raid a reminder that Sembcorp Marine's Brazil woes are far from over

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SembMarine director of group finance William Goh declined to elaborate on the matter, though he acknowledged that the search was conducted in “early July”.

According to the company’s pre-market filing on July 3, the Brazilian federal police had conducted a search of the premises of its subsidiary Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz (EJA).

Within two days after the announcement, shares of SembMarine tumbled, wiping out some $250 million in market value.

“Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to give further colour given that things are still ongoing,” Goh says at the company’s 2QFY2019 results briefing today, attended by bankers, analysts and reporters.

“In terms of how things will continue to progress, as and when there are significant developments we would announce accordingly, which we have [done] over the couple of years,” he adds.

Asked whether the Singapore authorities are involved in the probe, Goh again remained mum. “You know that we can’t comment for anything beyond what we have announced,” he says.

According to the July 3 filing, the raid by the Brazilian police was in relation to on-going investigations against EJA’s former consultant, Guilherme Esteves de Jesus. He was arrested on March 27, 2015.

The filing also named, for the first time, a SembMarine executive as part of the probe: Martin Cheah Kok Choon, former president of EJA.

In 2015, de Jesus was accused of paying bribes to Brazilian officials on behalf of SembMarine.

The allegation was made by Pedro Jose Barusco, the Petrobras executive who reportedly alleged that Keppel Offshore & Marine’s former agent, Zwi Skornicki, had paid millions of dollars in bribes to Brazilian officials.

Following the allegation, SembMarine issued a statement saying it did not make any illegal payments, and that the group’s policies and contracts prohibit bribery and unethical behaviour.