Japanese firm makes plea deal in Thailand bribery case

Japanese firm makes plea deal in Thailand bribery case

TOKYO: Prosecutors in Japan have reached a plea bargain with a major power equipment supplier accused of bribing a public servant in Thailand

The agreement with Yokohama-based Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd was the first of its kind since the option was introduced in June, sources close to the matter said Saturday.

Under the agreement, prosecutors will forego indictment of the company in exchange for information on the employee involved in the bribe, the sources said. 

While the full details of the case were not immediately known, the employee was said to have given as much as tens of millions of yen in bribes to a local official in relation to transport work under a power plant contract awarded in 2013, the sources said.

The company declined to comment on the matter, saying that it “cooperates appropriately with authorities when it finds a potential breach of legal compliance”.

If found guilty of violating the anti-trust law, a corporation could face a fine of up to 300 million yen (US$2.7 million). A person who breaks the law could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and/or fined up to 5 million yen.

Japan introduced the plea bargaining system for organised crime and bribery cases in June.

There have been only four cases in Japan in which companies or individuals have been prosecuted on bribery charges involving foreign public officials since 1998 when the country prohibited giving bribes to and receiving them from such officials.

The Thai government in February this year awarded a 30-billion-baht contract to Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems to supply equipment for a planned 5,300-megawatt gas-fired power plant to be built near Bangkok.

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