Marubeni FCPA Enforcement Action Specifics

Marubeni FCPA Enforcement Action Specifics

 This article was reprinted with permission from FCPA Professor

A post last week mentioned the $88 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action (the 12th largest of all-time in terms of settlement amount) against Marubeni (a Japanese company). In 2012, Marubeni resolved a $55 million FCPA enforcement action (see here for the prior post) involving Bonny Island, Nigeria conduct.

This post highlights specifics from the enforcement action in the original source documents – the criminal information and plea agreement. [Previously, the DOJ released original source documents relevant to an FCPA enforcement action at the same time as announcing the enforcement action. However, according to a knowledgeable source, the DOJ has a new policy of releasing original source documents only when those documents have been filed-stamped by the relevant court. While an understandable policy, the end result will likely be that the majority of reporting of FCPA enforcement actions will be reporting exclusively from DOJ press releases, not original source documents. Not on this website] 

The Marubeni enforcement action is a virtual carbon copy of the April 2013 FCPA enforcement action against various current and former employees of Alstom concerning the Tarahan power project in Indonesia. Indeed, as highlighted in the previous post, Marubeni is the “Consortium Partner” in the prior enforcement action and those associated with Alstom previously charged (Lawrence Hoskins, Frederic Pierucci, William Pomponi and David Rothschild) are mentioned prominently in the Marubeni enforcement action.

Information

The information alleges that Marubeni and its subsidiaries, including Marubeni Power Systems Corporation (“MPSC”), partnered with Alstom (simply referred to in the Information as Power Company) and its subsidiaries in bidding and carrying out of the Tarahan Project in Indonesia, a $118 project to provide power-related services to the citizens of Indonesia that was bid and contracted through Indonesia’s state-owned and state-controlled electricity company, Perusahaan Listrik Negara (“PLN”). According to the information, Marubeni managed all work on the project, including auxiliary equipment and civil building and installation work.

According to the information, Marubeni and Alstom retained two consultants (the same consultants as in the prior 2013 enforcement action) and the “consultant’s primary purpose was not to provide legitimate consulting services to Marubeni and Alstom but was instead to pay bribes to Indonesian officials who had the ability to influence the award of the Tarahan Project contract.”  The Indonesian officials are the same as the officials in the prior enforcement action.

“Official 1 … a member of Parliament in Indonesia [who] had influence over the award of contracts by PLN, including on the Tarahan Project”

“Official 2 … a high-ranking official at PLN [who] had broad decision-making authority and influence over the award of contracts by PLN, including on the Tarahan Project”

“Official 3 … an official at PLN [who] was a high-ranking member of the evaluation committee for the Tarahan Project. Official 3 had broad decision-making authority and influence over the award of the Tarahan contract.”

According to the information, Marubeni, through its employees and agents made payments to a consultant’s bank account in Maryland, knowing that a portion of the payments to the consultant was intended for Indonesian officials in exchange for their influence and assistance in awarding the Tarahan Project to Marubeni and Alstom. In addition, the information alleges that Marubeni, through its employees and agents, attended meetings in Connecticut in connection with the Tarahan Project.

There are no specifics in the information concerning the Marbueni employees such as rank, title or position of the employees (as noted in the information, Marubeni has approximately 24,000 employees in over 70 countries).

Based on the above allegations, the information charges Marubeni with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions. As to jurisdiction, the information alleges that Marubeni, through its employees, together with others, while in Connecticut discussed in person, via telephone and via e-mail the need to obtain the Tarahan Project and making bribe payments to various alleged foreign officials in order to obtain the contract, and offered to pay, promised to pay, and authorized the payment of bribes to obtain the contract. The information alleges approximately 60 separate overt acts in furtherance in the conspiracy and the vast majority of these allegations concerning the alleged co-conspirators associated with Alstom. There are relatively few specific overt acts allegations concerning Marubeni employees other than the following.

In 2002 and 2004 employees of Marubeni traveled to Connecticut “to attend meetings … in connection with the Tarahan Project”

Between 2002 – 2004, e-mails were sent to Marubeni employees from co-conspirators or from Marubeni employees to co-conspirators in connection with the project and bribery scheme

Twice in 2005 and once in 2008 “Marubeni caused” wire transfers from a bank account in New York to a consultant’s bank account in Maryland in furtherance of the bribery scheme

The “most recent” allegation supporting Marubeni’s conspiracy charge allegedly occurred in November 2008.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, the information also alleges 7 substantive FCPA anti-bribery violations under the 78dd-3 prong of the statute. The jurisdictional element of 78dd-3 is “while in the territory of the United States, corruptly to make use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce or to do any other act in furtherance …” of a bribery scheme.

Two of the 7 FCPA anti-bribery charges are Marubeni specific (the above mentioned 2005 and 2008 wire transfers). The other 5 FCPA anti-bribery charges are based on the conduct of Alstom employees.

Plea Agreement

In the plea agreement, Marubeni admitted to the factual allegations in the information and agreed that it was responsible for the acts of its present and former employees described in the information.

As set forth in the plea agreement, the advisory sentencing guidelines range for the conduct at issue was $63.7 million to $127.4 million. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Marubeni agreed to pay $88 million. This is a relatively rare situation of an FCPA corporate defendant paying a criminal fine amount within the guidelines range.

The plea agreement states that the DOJ believes that the fine amount was the appropriate disposition based on:  ”(1) the nature and seriousness of the offense; (2) the Defendant’s failure to voluntarily disclose the conduct; (3) the Defendants refusal to cooperate with the Department’s investigation when given the opportunity to do so; (4) the lack of an effective compliance and ethics program at the time of the offense; (5) the Defendant’s failure to properly remediate: and (6) the Defendant’s history of prior criminal misconduct.”

As is typical in corporate FCPA resolutions, Marubeni agreed to a host of compliance requirements and the plea agreement also contains a muzzle clause.

DOJ Release

In this release, Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman stated:

“Marubeni pleaded guilty to engaging in a seven-year scheme to pay – and conceal – bribes to a high-ranking member of Parliament and other foreign officials in Indonesia. The company refused to play by the rules, then refused to cooperate with the government’s investigation. Now Marubeni faces the consequences for its crooked business practices in Indonesia .”

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Gustafson (D. Conn.) stated:

“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. Today’s guilty plea by Marubeni Corporation is an important reminder to the business community of the significant consequences of participating in schemes to bribe government officials, whether at home or abroad.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office Valerie Parlave stated:

“Companies that wish to do business in the United States or with U.S. companies must adhere to U.S. law, and that means bribery is unacceptable. The FBI continues to work with our international law enforcement partners as demonstrated in this case to ensure that companies are held accountable for their criminal conduct. I want to thank the agents, analysts and prosecutors who brought this case to today’s conclusion.”

Marubeni’s Release

In this release, Marubeni stated:

“[The enforcement action follows the successful completion by Marubeni of its obligations under a January 2012 Deferred Prosecution Agreement entered with the DOJ relating to the liquid natural gas project in Nigeria. That Agreement required Marubeni to retain a corporate compliance consultant for two years to review and enhance its anticorruption compliance program to ensure that it satisfies standards specified by the DOJ, and to report to the DOJ regarding the results of this review. This was completed in January 2014, and at the request of the DOJ the related proceeding was dismissed on February 26, 2014.

The Tarahan conduct pre-dates the execution of Marubeni’s 2012 Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the DOJ. Marubeni has undertaken extensive efforts to enhance its anti-corruption compliance program, and believes that its current program is robust and effective. Although the agreement reached with DOJ today does not require Marubeni to further engage a compliance consultant, Marubeni is taking this matter seriously and commits to continue to thoroughly implement and enhance its anti-corruption compliance program.”

Marc Weinstein (Hughes Hubbard & Reed) represented Marubeni. Weinstein also represented Marubeni in connection with the 2012 FCPA enforcement action.

 Read more articles on the FCPA by Mike Koehler at FCPA Professor.

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