The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last month informed a U.K. insurance broker it would not face prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) despite alleged evidence of nearly $3.2 million the company paid in bribes to Ecuadorian government officials.
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Holdings (JLT) was informed of the DOJ’s intent in a letter dated March 18 and consented to March 22 by general counsel for Marsh & McLennan Companies, which acquired JLT in 2019. The alleged misconduct occurred beginning in 2014 and continued through 2016, according to the DOJ.
The agency said it uncovered evidence that JLT, through a former employee and agents, “paid approximately $10,800,000 to a Florida-based third-party intermediary that the employee and agents knew would be used, in part, to pay approximately $3,157,000 in bribes to Ecuadorian government officials in order to obtain and retain contracts with Seguros Sucre, the Ecuadorian state-owned and -controlled surety company. Approximately $1.2 million of these bribe payments were laundered through and into bank accounts in the United States.”
The DOJ’s decision to decline prosecution considered a handful of factors, most notably JLT’s agreeing to disgorge more than $29 million in “corruptly obtained” profits, according to the agency. The disgorgement total would be credited against any amount JLT pays if it is the subject of an enforcement action by the U.K. Serious Fraud Office within the next year, the DOJ added.
The company was also lauded for voluntarily self-disclosing the alleged misconduct; full cooperation; and timely remediation, including separation from the former executive and Florida third party and enhancements to its anti-corruption training and compliance program.
“This matter relates to a former employee of JLT who pled guilty to charges arising from actions that took place in Ecuador from 2014-2016, prior to the acquisition of JLT in 2019,” a spokeswoman for Marsh McLennan said in an emailed statement. “In early 2018, JLT voluntarily reported this matter to law enforcement authorities.”