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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

U.S. Nets $54 Million Fine for Overseas Bribery

HOUSTON (CN) - Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corp. will pay $54.6 million to resolve federal charges that it bribed Nigerian government officials for a decade to get engineering, procurement and construction contracts.

In a deferred-prosecution agreement and criminal information, prosecutors accused Marubeni of conspiracy and aiding and abetting violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Tokyo-based Marubeni was an agent for a four-company TSKJ joint venture. It was hired to help secure contracts to build liquefied natural gas plants on Bonny Island, Nigeria, by bribing Nigerian government officials, prosecutors said.

TSKJ was comprised of Technip, Snamprogetti Netherlands, Kellogg Brown & Root and JGC Corp.

Between 1995 and 2004, Nigeria LNG awarded TSKJ four contracts worth more than $6 billion to build the LNG facilities.

Government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. was the largest shareholder of NLNG, owning 49 percent of the company.

Prosecutors say Marubeni and Jeffrey Tesler, a British solicitor, were hired to pay the bribes: Tesler to bribe high-level Nigerian government officials, including top-level officials in the executive branch, and Marubeni to bribe lower-level government officials.

TSKJ paid about $132 million to a Gibraltar corporation controlled by Tesler and $51 million to Marubeni, to be used, in part, for the bribes, the Justice Department said in a statement.

The Department of Justice agreed to defer prosecution of Marubeni for two years and Marubeni agreed to hire a corporate compliance consultant for 2 years, and to cooperate with the government in its investigation.

If Marubeni abides by the terms of the agreement, the department will dismiss the criminal information when the term of the agreement expires.

The Department of Justice said it has collected more than $1.7 billion in penalties and forfeitures from members of "the so-called Bonny Island project."

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