March 14, 2023

DOJ declines to prosecute Corsa Coal for foreign bribery

On March 8, 2023, the US Department of Justice informed Corsa Coal Corporation, a coal mining enterprise headquartered in Pennsylvania, that it would decline to prosecute the company for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, based on an assessment of the factors set forth in the Justice Manual’s Corporate Enforcement and Voluntary Self-Disclosure Policy and Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations.

The DOJ’s investigation revealed that Corsa employees and agents had, between 2016 and 2020, engaged in a scheme to bribe Egyptian government officials in order to secure contracts worth $143 million to supply coal to an Egyptian state-owned manufacturing company, Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals.  The DOJ found that Corsa paid $4.8 million to an Egyptian intermediary to obtain the contracts, and that Corsa employees knew that some or all of that amount would be used to pay bribes to Egyptian government officials.  According to the DOJ, Corsa garnered approximately $32.7 million in profits as a result of the bribery scheme.

In reaching its decision to decline prosecution despite the facts, DOJ took into consideration Corsa’s voluntary and timely self-disclosure of the misconduct, the company’s thorough cooperation in the investigation and its promise of continued cooperation in ongoing investigations and prosecutions arising from the matter, the remediation undertaken by Corsa (including dismissal of a sales representative involved in the bribery and enhancement of the company’s compliance program), and the company’s agreement to disgorge the ill-gotten gains derived from the scheme.

In calculating the amount of disgorgement to be paid, the DOJ took into account, on the one hand the approximately $32.7 million profit derived from the bribery scheme, and on the other hand, Corsa’s proven inability to pay more than $1.2 million without imperiling the future viability of the company.  The parties therefore agreed on a disgorgement amount of $1.2 million.

In a press release announcing the declination on March 9, 2023, Corsa noted that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who had been investigating the same matter, had concluded its investigation without recommending that charges be brought.

Declination letter | Corsa press release