The rising global tide against bribery

When news of the settlement of the Keppel bribery scandal in Brazil first broke just before Christmas, I received a few messages, including from some well-known Singaporeans, expressing indignation that the United States government had been involved in the investigations of Keppel Offshore and Marine (OM), the ship-and rig-building arm of the parent Keppel Corp.

One message read: “What business is it of the US Justice Department to prosecute corruption in other countries? Should they not focus on American corruption?”

Another, which was also copied to the editor of The Straits Times, suggested, in a similar vein: “What Keppel OM and the Brazilians did is none of America’s business. The Yanks have arrogated to themselves extra territorial jurisdictional powers and are plain extortionists. Who appointed them the world’s policeman?”

I heard similar sentiments expressed in conversations that I had, including (to my surprise) with people who worked for companies with global operations. Implicit

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