A number of companies have fallen into the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) clutches in early 2014 for potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations. However, not many of them have taken the path of Japanese trading company Marubeni Corp. — getting charged with bribery twice in three years.
On March 20, Marubeni agreed to pay an $88 million fine and plead guilty to foreign bribery charges handed down by the DOJ. The department said that it was Marubeni’s second payout in three years.
According to the DOJ’s complaint, Marubeni stood accused of bribing high-ranking officials in Indonesia in order to secure a $118 million contract for an energy project as part of a consortium. The consortium then received the contract in 2004. Marubeni was charged with one count of conspiracy and seven counts of violating the FCPA.
However, this is not the first time that Marubeni has run afoul of the FCPA. According to The Wall Street Journal, Marubeni paid $54.6 million in 2012 to resolve charges that it bribed Nigerian officials over the course of a decade for various contracts.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said that the government cracked down harder on Marubeni because of its past history. “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,” said Raman in a statement.
Marubeni said that its compliance controls were bolstered following the Nigerian incident, and the company does not expect any FCPA issues moving forward.
“Although the agreement reached with the [DOJ] today does not require Marubeni to further engage a compliance consultant, Marubeni is taking this matter seriously and commits to thoroughly implement and enhance its anticorruption compliance program,” said a Marubeni spokesperson in a statement to the WSJ.
You can add Marubeni to a list that now includes companies such as Alcoa, NCR and Avon who have already paid FCPA penalties in 2014. This comes after just five FCPA enforcement actions were handed down by the U.S. government in 2013.
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