* Japan trader admits bribing officials for power project
* Will cooperate with U.S. Justice Department investigation
* Says should not affect current financial forecasts (Adds Marubeni comment, project details)
By Casey Sullivan
March 19 (Reuters) - Marubeni Corp has agreed to pay $88 million and plead guilty to charges by U.S. prosecutors that the Japanese trading company paid high-ranking government officials in Indonesia to secure a lucrative power project, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.
Marubeni and its employees bribed officials in Indonesia, including high-ranking members of Parliament and state-controlled electricity company Perusahaan Listrik Negara, to win a $118 million contract to provide power services for citizens of Indonesia, the U.S. agency said in a statement.
“For several years, the Marubeni Corporation worked in concert with a Connecticut company, among others, to bribe Indonesian officials in order to secure a contract to provide power-related services in Indonesia,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson of the District of Connecticut.
The contract, known as the Tarahan project, was part of a joint venture with its partner, French power equipment maker Alstom SA. Two Alstom executives of the U.S. arm of Alstom in Connecticut, Frederic Pierucci and David Rothschild, have so far pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate bribery laws in connection with the project.
The two companies were awarded the contract to expand a coal-fired power plant located at Tarahan, near Lampung, on the island of Sumatra in 2004. The project was finished in 2007.
Marubeni pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges on Wednesday in federal court in Connecticut, the Justice Department said. The charges consisted of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits businesses for paying off government officials, it added.
“The company refused to play by the rules, then refused to cooperate with the government’s investigation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Now Marubeni faces the consequences for its crooked business practices in Indonesia.”
The Japanese trading house has agreed to implement an enhanced global anti-corruption compliance program and cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation, the agency said.
Marubeni said in a statement that the resolution should not affect its financial forecasts for the year that ends in March.
Shares of Marubeni were down 0.4 percent in Tokyo morning trade, versus an 0.7 percent fall in the Nikkei 225 benchmark. (Reporting by Casey Sullivan; Additional Reporting by David Ingram and James Topham; Editing by Richard Chang and Kenneth Maxwell)