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U.S. fines Marubeni over Indonesia bribery scheme

AFP-JIJI

Trading company Marubeni Corp. has agreed to pay an $88 million fine after admitting bribing Indonesian government officials to secure a lucrative power project, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday.

A Justice Department statement said Marubeni and employees from consortium partner Alstom had bribed a high-ranking Indonesian member of parliament and members of the country’s state-owned electricity company to secure a $118 million contract known as the Tarahan project.

Payments totaling several hundred thousand dollars were funneled to corrupt officials in Indonesia via bogus consultants hired specifically to disperse the bribes, the statement said.

Two officials from the U.S. subsidiary of French firm Alstom have already pleaded guilty to U.S. charges in connection with the scam, which began in 2002.

Two other Alstom executives face charges but have not yet entered pleas.

“Marubeni and its co-conspirators were successful in securing the Tarahan project and subsequently made payments to the consultants for the purpose of bribing the Indonesian officials,” the Justice Department said.

Money was paid into a bank account in Maryland before being transferred to Indonesia.

Marubeni pleaded guilty to an eight-count indictment filed in federal court in Connecticut on Wednesday.

The company admitted one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and seven counts of violating the same law.

The $88 million fine is set to be ratified at a sentencing hearing on May 15.

“Companies that wish to do business in the United States or with U.S. companies must adhere to U.S. law, and that means bribery is unacceptable,” said FBI official Valerie Parlave.

Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said Marubeni had paid the price for trying to hide involvement in the scam.

“Marubeni pleaded guilty to engaging in a seven-year scheme to pay — and conceal — bribes to a high-ranking member of parliament and other foreign officials in Indonesia,” Raman said.

“The company refused to play by the rules, then refused to cooperate with the government’s investigation.

“Now Marubeni faces the consequences for its crooked business practices in Indonesia.”

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    But no Marubeni executives will go to prison? Something tells me this “investigation” by the US has been hobbled by political considerations – either that or the Americans are going soft!

  • Steve Jackman

    It is also just being reported in the Japanese press today that from 2008-2012, a Tokyo-based railway consulting company illegally paid about ¥100 million in kickbacks to civil servants in Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, in return for orders for official development assistance projects totaling ¥6 billion.