3 Japanese execs indicted in Thai bribery case

3 Japanese execs indicted in Thai bribery case

TOKYO: Japanese prosecutors on Friday dropped a bribery charge in Thailand against a power plant manufacturer, citing the company's cooperation with investigations under Japan's first plea-bargain deal.

While Yokohama-based Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd was exempted from prosecution, three former executives were indicted without arrest on allegations of bribing a Thai public servant.

Satoshi Uchida, 64, who then managed the power plant project, and two others allegedly paid 11 million baht in February 2015 to an unnamed official of the Transport Ministry in Thailand to speed up clearance of cargo related to a local power plant project, according to the indictment.

Although they failed to meet the conditions for cargo discharge, the three paid money to the official to gain tacit approval, Japanese prosecutors said.

The two others indicted are Fuyuhiko Nishikida, 62, who was in charge of material procurement, and Yoshiki Tsuji, 56, who was Nishikida's subordinate.

The company had entered into a plea-bargain agreement with the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office after discovering the bribery in an internal investigation, prompted by a whistleblower.

The three accused executives had placed an order for a fictitious local construction project to raise off-the-books funds to pay the 20 million baht requested by the ministry official, the manufacturer said.

Without the bribe, the discharge of cargo would have taken four to five months, which might have cost the company up to 6 billion yen in delay damages, the firm said. More than a dozen personnel were involved in the alleged bribery.

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

If found guilty of violating the anti-trust law, a company could face a fine of up to 300 million yen (US$2.7 million)

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