Fri, Mar 21, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Japan’s Marubeni pays fine for bribing Indonesian officials

AFP, WASHINGTON

Japanese trading company Marubeni Corp has agreed to pay an US$88 million fine after admitting bribing Indonesian government officials to secure a lucrative power project, the US Department of Justice said on Wednesday.

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

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

Two officials from the US subsidiary of French firm Alstom have already pleaded guilty to US 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 US Department of Justice 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 a 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 and seven counts of violating the same law.

The US$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 US companies must adhere to US law, and that means bribery is unacceptable,” FBI official Valerie Parlave said.

US Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said Marubeni had paid the price for trying to hide its 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.”

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