FirstEnergy (FE) shares rose Thursday after the Justice Department announced the utility will pay $230 million to settle bribery charges related to a nuclear plant bailout.
“FirstEnergy [based in Akron, Ohio] has been charged federally with conspiring to commit honest services wire fraud and has agreed to pay a $230 million monetary penalty,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Ohio.
“The company signed a deferred prosecution agreement that could potentially result in dismissal of the charge.”
Further, “FirstEnergy … admits it conspired with public officials and other individuals and entities to pay millions of dollars to public officials in exchange for specific official action for FirstEnergy Corp.’s benefit,” prosecutors said.
“FirstEnergy acknowledged in the deferred prosecution agreement that it paid millions of dollars to an elected state public official through the official’s alleged 501(c)(4) [a social welfare group] in return for the official pursuing nuclear legislation for FirstEnergy’s benefit.”
The company is "intently focused on fostering a strong culture of compliance and ethics, starting at the top, and ensuring we have robust processes in place to prevent the type of misconduct that occurred in the past," said Chief Executive Steven Strah.
FirstEnergy recently traded at $39.33, up 4.77%. The stock has risen 27% in the last six months.