Malaysia’s anti-graft agency is reportedly investigating Norwegian oilfield services contractor Aker Solutions on suspicion of making false statements in its business with national oil and gas company Petronas.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is looking into allegations that Aker Solutions made false representations regarding the ownership of one of its Malaysian units in order to win licences from Petronas, reported Reuters, referencing one source with the agency and two other people.

The sought-after licences are typically reserved for companies that met ethnic quota requirements under Malaysian legislation, the sources told Reuters.

Malaysian investigators in June contacted Norwegian authorities for assistance to gather evidence and statements from witnesses in Norway, but the case has been unable to move forward due to coronavirus travel restrictions, according to the MACC source.

The commission could not be reached for immediate comment.

Aker Solutions has denied any malpractice, claiming that to its knowledge its Malaysian entities fulfilled all applicable requirements.

"Documentation and information regarding company set-up, including ethnic quota requirements, have been provided in all licence renewal processes to verify that the companies meet the requirements for a Petronas licence," Aker Solutions told Reuters.

The licences were renewed three years ago after clarification meetings with governmental bodies, the latest renewal of the licences was early summer 2020, according to the Norwegian contractor.

Aker Solutions added it is always committed to cooperate with local authorities in the countries where it operates.

"The regular dialogue with the authorities in Malaysia spans a range of different bodies, including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Information which has been provided to MACC includes information regarding company organisation and set-up, and they have also been given access to Aker Solutions’ offices in Kuala Lumpur."

Under Malaysia's anti-corruption law, penalties for making false statements could include imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years, and a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification that is the subject of the offence.

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Aker Solutions has six subsidiaries registered in Malaysia, where its Asia Pacific headquarters is based, according to its 2019 annual report.

Updated to include further comment from Aker Solutions.