On Tuesday, January 17, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed a deferred prosecution agreement requiring Marubeni Corporation (“Marubeni”) to pay $54.6 million in criminal penalties for its participation in a conspiracy to bribe Nigerian officials in violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). The deferred prosecution agreement requires Marubeni to retain a corporate compliance consultant for two years and to cooperate with the DOJ’s ongoing investigations. The criminal charges against Marubeni will be dropped after two years so long as Marubeni abides by the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement. Marubeni is the fourth non-U.S. company, and the second Japanese company, to face criminal charges in this matter. The charges against Marubeni are yet another stark reminder of the DOJ’s interpretation of the FCPA’s expansive jurisdictional reach.
The Marubeni case stems from a scheme by a four-company, multinational joint venture to bribe Nigerian officials in exchange for contracts to build liquefied natural gas facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria. The criminal information filed by the DOJ accuses Marubeni of being an agent through which bribes were paid. The members of the joint venture were Technip S.A.; Snamprogetti Netherlands, B.V.; Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. (“KBR”) (a Halliburton subsidiary); and JGC Corporation.
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