Singapore: Former BP Bunker Boss Charged in $4 Million Bribery Scandal

Thursday March 9, 2017

Clarence Chang Peng Hong, BP's former eastern regional director for marine fuels, Tuesday was charged with taking bribes amounting to US$3.95 million, Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in a statement Thursday in what officials are calling one of the country's largest corruption cases.

Chang was said to have taken the bribes from Koh Seng Lee, the Executive Director of Pacific Prime Trading Pte Ltd (PPT), "as an inducement for advancing the business interest of PPT with BP."

The alleged offences took place as far back as July 2006, while Chang's employment with BP ended in July 2010.

"We became aware of some concerning activities in 2010 which we reported to the authorities. These charges have been filed by the Singapore authorities, we cannot comment on them," a spokeswoman for BP said.

CPIB said the total of 47 charges include: Nineteen counts of corruptly obtaining gratification amounting to USD3.95 million from Koh Seng Lee; One count of corruptly agreeing to accept a gratification of S$500,000 from Koh Seng Lee; Sixteen counts of transferring S$4,683,961.23, which were benefits of corrupt proceeds, from a Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) account in Hong Kong to a POSB Bank Singapore account and two other HSBC Singapore accounts; Ten counts of converting property amounting to S$3,967,670.26, which, in whole or in part, were direct or indirect benefits of corrupt proceeds, to acquire three private landed properties and two condominiums; One count of converting property of S$111,000, which were benefits of corrupt proceeds, to acquire share capital in Mindchamps Preschool @ City Square Pte Ltd.

If found guilty, Chang faces a hefty fine and/or jail time; each charge under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act is punishable by a fine of $$500,000 ($350,000) and/or up to seven years in jail.

"Singapore adopts a zero tolerance approach towards corruption. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau takes a serious view of any corrupt practices and will not hesitate to take action against any party involved in such acts," CPIB said.

The court has adjourned the case until April 6.

This is not the first time Chang has made headlines for his role with BP.

In 2010 he was one of six former BP employees accused of breach of contract and fiduciary duty, as well misusing confidential information, in an alleged coordinated mass exodus of key staff to rival Brightoil Petroleum; that case was settled with "no further comment" from BP in 2011.

Following his move to Brightoil, between July 2013 to May 2014 Chang was at now-bankrupt former industry heavyweight OW Bunker.