SINGAPORE (Jan 5):  It was a blue Christmas for Keppel Corp.

On Dec 23, 2017, the company said its offshore and marine arm had reached a global resolution with authorities in the US, Brazil and Singapore in relation to corrupt payments made by a former agent that will see it pay fines of more than US$422.2 million ($561.1 million).

While the global resolution Keppel Corporation’s offshore & marine unit Offshore & Marine has reached with the US, Brazil and Singapore draws a line under the whole episode, it has also surfaced information that casts new light on Keppel’s own efforts to investigate the bribery allegations as they unfolded.

See: Keppel Corp’s internal investigations uncovers ‘suspicious’ transactions

See: Keppel O&M fined US$422 mil as part of resolution over bribes for contracts by ex-agent Skornicki

Some market watchers have expressed concern about the impact this whole episode will have on Keppel’s reputation as well as Singapore’s standing as a clean business hub.

A debate is also emerging about whether it is possible for companies such as Keppel – and Sembcorp Marine, which has denied allegations of having been involved in similar bribery activities in Brazil – to adhere to the standards of a developed market while doing business in emerging markets.

Sneak peek: SembMarine comes under the pressure after Keppel's US$422 mil settlement

Where does this leave investors, and how can they gauge the risks associated with companies that do business in emerging markets?

Find out more in Issue 812 of The Edge Singapore (week of Jan 8)  as we speak to market watchers and analysts on their views of the scandal, while also providing a full overview of how Keppel has responded to the reports of the bribes.

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