United States: Asphalt Company Got $70 Million Break on Penalty

Facing a bribery probe, asphalt company Sargeant Marine Inc. claimed that a large criminal penalty would make it insolvent. So federal prosecutors knocked off more than $70 million.

A discount of more than 80% off what could have been a fine of at least $90 million is the first time prosecutors have applied the latest U.S. Justice Department guidance on inability-to-pay claims to a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case, according to senior department officials. Sargeant Marine’s case, which ended last week with the Florida company agreeing to pay $16.6 million, illustrates how prosecutors may apply the guidance in future cases.

The inability-to-pay guidance, issued by the department’s criminal division in 2019, was meant to create consistency and a formal process for addressing inability-to-pay claims—as well as transparency around how they are resolved.

The original full article can be found at wsj.com

(Photo:  Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

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