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US Justice Department Probes Standard Chartered Bank Over Bribery Allegations

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Standard Chartered, the London-based bank, is being investigated by the US Justice Department over bribery case allegedly committed by an Indonesian power company the bank controls, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — An internal audit at Maxpower Group Pte. Ltd, Southeast Asia’s leading gas-to-power company controlled by the UK-headquartered financial institution, conducted last year, indicated that more than $750,000 in outstanding cash advances in 2014 and early 2015 needed to be examined as possible bribes, according to the media outlet.

Lawyers hired to review the audit concluded that there were strong indications that inappropriate payments were made to Indonesian government officials and others by company employees from at least 2012 to late 2015, to get power contracts in Indonesia, the WSF sources claimed, adding that some of the payments were funded by cash advances requested by three founders and two employees.

The US Justice Department is investigating whether US anti-corruption rules were broken by the alleged bribes and whether Standard Chartered executives on the Maxpower board knew about or approved the bribery-taking.

Standard Chartered said it "proactively referred this matter to the appropriate authorities and have conducted our own review," while Maxpower stated it was working with "professional advisory firms to fully investigate," as cited by WSJ.

Standard Chartered is a major shareholder in Maxpower with a total investment of $143 million and it holds three seats on the company's board.

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