Are deferred prosecution agreements the future of dealing with errant companies?

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SINGAPORE (Jan 22): Keppel Corp’s involvement in a massive bribery scandal in Brazil has highlighted an oddity in Singapore’s legal system.

If Keppel had been prosecuted under local criminal law, it would have been liable for a fine of just S$100,000. Under the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) reached between Keppel Offshore & Marine and the US Department of Justice, it will be hit with fines topping US$422 million (S$557.8 million). That is after being given a 25% discount because of its substantial cooperation with the investigation and its willingness to take extensive remedial measures.

On Jan 15, home affairs and law minister K Shanmugam told lawyers assembled for a dialogue session that Singapore would consider introducing such a framework too. “It is about time we had DPAs here, where corporates can be taken to task and [where] they could pay a much higher sum compared to what the criminal law provides,” Shanmugam said at the “Modernising Criminal Justice: New Developments in Criminal Procedure” dialogue at The Arts House... (Click here to read the full story.)