Singapore’s prosecutors have charged a 35-year-old Chinese Singaporean, Lim Leong, with attempting to bribe a bunker surveyor into overstating the volume delivered. The bunker clerk faced one count of “corruptly offering gratification of an unspecified sum” to a surveyor, Keshminder Singh, who works for Viking Marine Services “as an inducement for certifying that a certain quantity of bunker fuel was supplied to vessel A70 when in fact a lesser quantity of bunker fuel was supplied”.
A Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) statement said of the alleged offence: “This constitutes an offence punishable under Section 6(b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 241. The CPIB said that Singh did not accept the bribe
The CPIB added: “The bunkering industry in Singapore is among the largest in the world. It is important to protect the integrity of the industry and to ensure a level playing field for all. Singapore does not tolerate corruption. It is a serious offence to give or attempt to give bribes. Any person who is convicted of corruption can be fined up to $100,000 or sentenced to imprisonment of up to 5 years or to both.” The bureau said that it “looks into all corruption complaints and reports, including anonymous ones”.
US sanctions on Venezuela can affect non-US persons
The American P&I Club has issued a circular explaining the risks for non-US persons concerning transactions with Petroleos De Venezuela SA (PdVSA).
The insurer notes that its members had already been informed that the US had imposed new and additional sanctions on the Government of Venezuela through the designation of PdVSA as a Specially Designated National (SDN).
On January 28, 2019 the US designated PdVSA as an SDN and added it to the US SDN List. The immediate effect of this action was that US persons were generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with PdVSA (subject to several general licenses) and that all of PdVSA’s property, and interests in property, in the United States or within the possession or control of US persons were blocked. These restrictions also applied to any entity 50% or more owned by PdVSA.
Crucially, in addition to prohibiting US persons from dealing or transacting with PdVSA (or with any entity of which it owns 50% or more), the relevant Executive Order provides for the imposition of sanctions against non-US persons engaging in “sanctionable activity” with PdVSA.
Although the prohibitions flowing from the designation of PdVSA apply only to US persons or to transactions with a US nexus, the relevant Executive Order pursuant to which PdVSA was designated provides the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) with the authority to designate non-US persons that engage in certain (sanctionable) activity with PdVSA, or with Venezuela in general, as sanctions targets (i.e. on a par with PdVSA). The SDN designation tool of OFAC is a way by which the US expands the application of unilateral US sanctions and enforces sanctions against non-US persons, i.e. persons outside or beyond the traditional, general in personam jurisdiction (or reach) of the United States and US law.
The club warns: “While there are no specific prohibitions aimed at non-US persons transacting business with PdVSA, there is the potential that non-US persons could nevertheless be subject to sanctions either for operating in the Venezuelan oil sector, or for providing material assistance to, or support for, PdVSA. In an FAQ, OFAC has obliquely indicated that a non-US person could continue to purchase petroleum and petroleum products from PdVSA, as long as there was no US nexus.
However the club notes that, on 5 April this year, OFAC announced that it had designated two companies operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy as SDNs. Additionally, in an example where strictly non-US persons were involved, OFAC, in an action seemingly contrary to its earlier guidance, identified one vessel which transported oil from Venezuela to Cuba.
The club concludes that, from the statements of the US State Department, it appears that OFAC most probably considers the purchase of petroleum products from, or the supply petroleum products to PdVSA by non-US persons to be sanctionable, and that it will exercise its discretion as to whether it designates as an SDN a non-US person involved in such transactions.