A former Deutsche Bank salesman who described systematic bribery in the sale of bank services to pension funds was given a suspended prison sentence Wednesday by a Tokyo judge.
Shigeru Echigo received a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for three years.
At a hearing in April, Echigo admitted to bribery charges, saying he bought lavish dinners and golf outings for pension fund managers. But he said he was only following orders from his superiors.
Prosecutors said Echigo spent $9,000 entertaining a client on 15 occasions from April to September 2012.
In court, Echigo said the behavior was sanctioned and widespread at the German bank’s brokerage unit in Japan.
“My actions as a salesman were part of systematic conduct based on the instructions and consent of my bosses at Deutsche Securities,” Echigo told the court.
The executive who accepted the bribes from Echigo, Mitsui & Co. employee Yutaka Tsurisawa, was convicted in the same court in March this year. He was given a suspended 18-month prison sentence and ordered to pay the bribe amount back.
Deutsche Securities Inc. cut the pay of several top officials in Japan after Tsurisawa’s conviction.
The payments from Echigo to Tsurisawa were a breach of Japanese bribery law because the money Tsurisawa oversaw were pensions that included public funds. That made Tsurisawa a civil servant under the law.
Echigo faced up to three years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
He was given a suspended sentence Wednesday because his bosses tacitly condoned the bribery, the judge said.
But the judge also said there wasn’t evidence that Echigo was ordered to pay the bribes.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.