In a courtroom in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 19, 2014, Marubeni Corporation (Marubeni), a storied Japanese trading company headquartered in Tokyo, pleaded guilty to an eight-count criminal information charging Marubeni with one count of conspiring to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and seven counts of violating the FCPA. The FCPA violations arise from a bribery scheme involving Indonesian officials and a contract to build a major power plant in Indonesia. The criminal fine was $88 million, which was $25 million above the typical low end of the U.S. Sentencing Guideline range applied in many of these cases.
Marubeni has now become one of less than a handful of companies in history to be charged with FCPA violations on more than one occasion. Indeed, Marubeni entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in January 2012 to resolve an investigation into Marubeni’s involvement with the Bonny Island bribery scandal in Nigeria, which included a monetary penalty of $54.6 million. Moreover, and in some ways more importantly, Marubeni became one of the rare parent corporations to enter a guilty plea for violating the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, which carries with it the greater possibility of significant collateral consequences such as suspension and debarment.
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