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Bill Steinman Contributing Editor

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Marubeni Pays $54.6 Million To Settle TSKJ Nigeria Case

The DOJ said today that Japan's Marubeni Corporation will pay a $54.6 million criminal penalty to resolve FCPA charges for its role as an agent of the KBR-led TSKJ joint venture.

A criminal information filed today against Marubeni in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas charged the company with one count of conspiracy and one count of aiding and abetting violations of the FCPA. The Tokyo-based trading company was given a two-year deferred prosecution agreement.

Marubeni was hired by the four-company TSKJ joint venture to help win contracts to build liquefied natural gas facilities on Bonny Island, Nigeria. The TSKJ partners were Technip S.A., Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V., Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. (KBR), and JGC Corporation. Between 1995 and 2004, the joint venture won four contracts worth more than $6 billion.

TSKJ paid $132 million to a Gibraltar corporation controlled by London lawyer Jeffrey Tesler and $51 million to Marubeni. The money was intended to be used to bribe Nigerian government officials.

The DOJ and SEC have now recovered $1.7 billion in penalties and disgorgement from TSKJ and its agents. Four of the six biggest FCPA cases of all time involve the TSKJ partners. Siemens' $800 million settlement is still the biggest single-company FCPA enforcement action.

In March, Jeffrey Tesler pleaded guilty to an FCPA conspiracy and a substantive count. As part of his plea, Tesler paid $149 million, the biggest FCPA forfeiture by an individual.

Jack Stanley, KBR's former CEO, pleaded guilty in Houston in 2008 to a two-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and to commit mail and wire fraud.

After Stanley's guilty plea, KBR and its one-time parent Halliburton paid $579 million in 2009 to resolve criminal and civil FCPA charges. In 2010, Italy's Snamprogetti paid $365 million to U.S. enforcement agencies, and France's Technip paid $338 million. Then in 2011, Japan's JGC paid $218.8 million.

Stanley, 66, received a preliminary sentence of 84 months in prison and was ordered to make a restitution payment of $10.8 million. His jail term hasn't started yet and is subject to review based on his cooperation. Final sentencing is set for February 3.

The agent Tesler, 62, is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Houston on February 2.

Wojciech Chodan, 72, a former KBR manager in the U.K. who pleaded guilty in December 2010 to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, is also set to be sentenced on February 2.

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