March 20, 2014 / 12:16 AM / 6 years ago

Marubeni pleads guilty to U.S. charges of bribery in Indonesia

A logo of Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp is seen on the company's headquarters in Tokyo May 29, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

(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.

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.

Marubeni did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“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.”

Marubeni has agreed to implement an enhanced global anti-corruption compliance program and cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation, the agency said.

Reporting by Casey Sullivan; Additional Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Richard Chang

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