National / Crime & Legal

Thai bribery case leads to Japan’s first plea bargain

Kyodo

Tokyo prosecutors have reached a plea bargain with a power plant maker for the first time since the legal practice was introduced in June, sources close to the matter said Saturday.

Yokohama-based Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd. entered the plea bargain in connection with a bribery case involving one of its employees and a civil servant in Thailand, the sources said.

The prosecutors will forego indictment in exchange for information on the employee involved, the sources said.

While the full details are not known, the employee is said to have bribed the official in relation to transport work under the power plant contract awarded in 2013, the sources said. The company declined to comment, saying it cooperates appropriately with authorities when it finds a potential breaches of legal compliance.

If found guilty of violating the anti-trust law, a company could be fined by up to ¥300 million. A person who breaks the law could face up to five years in prison or a ¥5 million fine.

Japan introduced the plea bargaining system for cases involving organized crime or bribery in June.

There have been only four cases in Japan in which companies or individuals have been prosecuted on bribery charges involving foreign public officials since 1998, when Japan prohibited the giving and receiving of bribes from such officials.