The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has fined Japanese trading house Marubeni US$ 54.6 million for its role in a decade-long scheme bribing Nigerian government officials to obtain construction contracts.

The latest criminal penalty adds to the US$ 1.7 billion in fines that the DoJ has already imposed on the TSKJ consortium, which consisted of contractors JGC, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), Technip, and Snaprogetti.

From 1994 through June 2004, the joint venture paid out nearly US$ 200 million in bribes in to win construction contracts worth over US$ 6 billion for Nigeria's Bonny Island Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities.

Marubeni was hired as an agent by TSKJ to help the consortium to win the LNG contracts by offering to pay bribes, among other means, according to the DoJ. The company was charged with conspiracy and aiding and abetting violations of US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Marubeni has reached a two-year deferred prosecution agreement with the DoJ and has agreed to review its corporate compliance.

Mythili Raman, principal deputy assistant attorney general of the DoJ's criminal division said, "With today's resolution, the department has held accountable all five of the corporations that participated in the massive, decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials in connection with the so-called Bonny Island project."

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