CCC: Recommended Blog: “Grand Jury Target”

Recommended Blog: “Grand Jury Target”

I’ve been following a blog for a while that I find informative and interesting: Grand Jury Target: Tracking Federal Prosecutions of Corporate Executives.  The blog is by Sara Kropf, a trial lawyer in Washington, D.C.  A March 8th post was titled:  “Why Are we Falling for the Department of Justice’s Sales Pitch?  The blog recounted Ms. Kropf’s experience at the recent White Collar Crime seminar, including the constant pitches by DOJ officials to rush in to confess.

This approach—to quickly rush to DOJ to win cooperation credit—seems to be the sad reality of current white collar practice when you represent large companies. (Don’t even get me started in the antitrust amnesty program and the problematic incentives that program creates.)

Check out the blog.  I think you’ll be well rewarded for your time.

Thanks for reading this one too!

Former Executive Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Bribe Panamanian Officials

A former regional director of SAP International Inc. pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by participating in a scheme to bribe Panamanian officials to secure the award of government technology contracts for SAP.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Division and Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas McMahon of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

Vicente Eduardo Garcia, 65, of Miami, pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.  Sentencing before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California is scheduled for Dec. 16, 2015.

According to plea documents, in late 2009, SAP sought a multi-million dollar contract to provide a Panamanian state agency with a technology upgrade package.  In connection with his guilty plea, Garcia admitted that, to secure the contract, he conspired with others, including advisors and consultants to SAP, to pay bribes to two Panamanian government officials, as well as to the agent of a third government official (with the understanding that at least a portion of the money would be transmitted to the third official).  According to Garcia’s admissions, the conspirators used sham contracts and false invoices to disguise the true nature of the bribes.  Garcia further admitted that he believed paying such bribes was necessary to secure both the initial contract and additional Panamanian government contracts.

Ultimately, SAP’s Panamanian channel partner secured the technology upgrade contract for $14.5 million, which included $2.1 million in SAP software licenses.  Soon thereafter, the Panamanian government awarded SAP’s channel partner additional contracts that included the provision of SAP products.

The investigation is being conducted by FBI and the IRS-CI.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, which separately announced civil charges against Garcia, provided assistance.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Aisling O’Shea of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam A. Reeves of the Northern District of California.

Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.

Former Owner and President of Pennsylvania Consulting Companies Charged with Foreign Bribery

The former owner and President of Chestnut Consulting Group Inc. and Chestnut Consulting Group Co. (generally referred to as the “Chestnut Group”) was indicted by a federal grand jury today for his alleged participation in a scheme to pay bribes to a foreign official in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the Travel Act, and to launder proceeds of those crimes.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division made the announcement.

“We are committed to combating foreign corruption, across the globe and across all industries, through enforcement actions and prosecutions of companies and the individuals who run those companies,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “As alleged, in this case, the owner and chief executive of a Pennsylvania financial consulting firm secured hundreds of millions of dollars in business by bribing a European banking official.  He now faces an indictment for corruption in federal court.  Bribery of foreign officials undermines the public trust in government and fair competition in business.  The charges returned today reflect the clear message that we will root out corruption and prosecute individuals who violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”

“We will aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals in our district who use corrupt means like bribery to influence foreign officials,” said U.S. Attorney Memeger.  “Our criminal statutes in this arena must be enforced to ensure fair dealing in a competitive global marketplace where foreign officials often hold significant decision-making authority.  The alleged conduct here was particularly reprehensible because it undermined the legitimacy of a process designed to support businesses for the citizens of developing nations.”

“This is a great example of the FBI’s ability to successfully coordinate with our international law enforcement partners to tackle corruption,” said Special Agent in Charge Hanko.  “Bribery – foreign or domestic – cripples the notion of fair competition in the marketplace.”

Dmitrij Harder, 42, of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, the former owner and president of the Chestnut Group, was charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and Travel Act, five counts of violating the FCPA, five counts of violating the Travel Act, one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering, and two counts of money laundering.

According to allegations in the indictment, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was a multilateral development bank headquartered in London, England, and was owned by over 60 sovereign nations.  Among other things, the EBRD provided financing for development projects in emerging economies, primarily in Eastern Europe.

According to allegations in the indictment, Harder and others paid bribes for the benefit of a senior official at the EBRD in exchange for influencing the official’s actions on applications for financing submitted by the Chestnut Group’s clients and for directing business to the Chestnut Group.  The EBRD ultimately approved applications for financing from two of the Chestnut Group’s corporate clients; the first resulted in the EBRD providing an $85 million investment and a 90 million Euro loan, while the second resulted in a $40 million investment and a $60 million convertible loan.  The Chestnut Group allegedly earned approximately $8 million in “success fees” as a result of the EBRD’s approval of these two applications.

The indictment alleges that Harder made five payments totaling more than $3.5 million to the sister of the EBRD official, in part as an effort to conceal the bribes.  These payments were allegedly made for purported consulting and other services provided to the Chestnut Group by the official’s sister, when in fact she provided no such services.  Harder also allegedly participated in creating fake documents to justify these payments.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Leo R. Tsao of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Bio-Rad Laboratories Resolves Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Investigation and Agrees to Pay $14.35 Million Penalty

A California-based medical diagnostics and life sciences manufacturing and sales company, Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. (Bio-Rad), has agreed to pay a $14.35 million penalty to resolve allegations that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by falsifying its books and records and failing to implement adequate internal controls in connection with sales it made in Russia.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office made the announcement.

“Public companies that cook their books and hide improper payments foster corruption,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “The department pursues corruption from all angles, including the falsification of records and failure to implement adequate internal controls.   The department also gives credit to companies, like Bio-Rad, who self-disclose, cooperate and remediate their violations of the FCPA.”

“The FBI remains committed to identifying and investigating violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” said Special Agent in Charge Johnson.  “This action demonstrates the benefits of self-disclosure, cooperation, and subsequent remediation by companies.”

According to the company’s admissions in the agreement, Bio-Rad SNC, a Bio-Rad subsidiary located in France, retained and paid intermediary companies commissions of 15-30 percent purportedly in exchange for various services in connection with certain governmental sales in Russia.  The intermediary companies, however, did not perform these services.  Several high-level managers at Bio-Rad, responsible for overseeing Bio-Rad’s business in Russia, reviewed and approved the commission payments to the intermediary companies despite knowing that the intermediary companies were not performing such services.  These managers knowingly caused the payments to be falsely recorded on Bio-Rad SNC’s and, ultimately, Bio-Rad’s books.  Bio-Rad, through several of its managers, also failed to implement adequate controls, as well as adequate compliance systems, with regard to its Russian operations while knowing that the failure to implement such controls allowed the intermediary companies to be paid significantly above-market commissions for little or no services.

The department entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the company due, in large part, to Bio-Rad’s self-disclosure of the misconduct and full cooperation with the department’s investigation.  That cooperation included voluntarily making U.S. and foreign employees available for interviews, voluntarily producing documents from overseas, and summarizing the findings of its internal investigation.  In addition, Bio-Rad has engaged in significant remedial actions, including enhancing its anti-corruption policies globally, improving its internal controls and compliance functions, developing and implementing additional due diligence and contracting procedures for intermediaries, and conducting extensive anti-corruption training throughout the organization.

In addition to the monetary penalty, Bio-Rad agreed to continue to cooperate with the department, to report periodically to the department for a two-year period concerning Bio-Rad’s compliance efforts, and to continue to implement an enhanced compliance program and internal controls designed to prevent and detect FCPA violations.

In a related matter, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced that it had entered into a cease and desist order against Bio-Rad in which the company agreed to pay $40.7 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest in connection with the company’s sales in Russia, as well as in Thailand and Vietnam.

The department acknowledges and expresses its appreciation for the assistance provided by the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Andrew Gentin of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

French Citizen Sentenced for Obstructing a Criminal Investigation into Alleged Bribes Paid to Win Mining Rights in Guinea

Frederic Cilins, a 51-year old French citizen, was sentenced today in the Southern District of New York to 24 months in prison for obstructing a federal criminal investigation into alleged bribes to obtain mining concessions in the Republic of Guinea.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York and Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos of the FBI’s New York Field Office made the announcement.    The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge William H. Pauley III.
“Cilins offered to bribe a witness in an FCPA investigation to stop the witness from talking to the FBI,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “Today’s sentence holds Cilins accountable for his effort to undermine the integrity of our justice system, and sends a message that those who interfere with federal investigations will be prosecuted and sent to prison.”
“Frederic Cilins went to great lengths to thwart a Manhattan federal grand jury’s investigation into an alleged bribery scheme in the Republic of Guinea,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara.  “In an effort to prevent the federal authorities from learning the truth, Cilins paid a witness for her silence and to destroy key documents.  Today, Cilins learned that no one can manipulate justice.”
“Cilins obstructed the efforts of the FBI during the course of this investigation,” said Director in Charge Venizelos.  “His guilty plea and sentence demonstrate our shared commitment with the department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office to hold accountable those who seek to interfere with the administration of justice. This case should be a reminder to all those who try to circumvent the efforts of a law enforcement investigation: the original crime and the cover-up both lend themselves to prosecution.”
According to court documents, Cilins obstructed an ongoing federal investigation concerning potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other crimes.    Federal law enforcement was investigating whether a particular mining company with which Cilins was affiliated paid bribes to officials of a former governmental regime in the Republic of Guinea to obtain and retain valuable mining concessions in the Republic of Guinea’s Simandou region.    During monitored and recorded phone calls and face-to-face meetings, Cilins agreed to pay substantial sums of money to induce a witness to the alleged bribery scheme to leave the United States to avoid questioning by the FBI, as well as to give documents to Cilins for destruction that had been requested by the FBI as part of the investigation.    Cilins also sought to induce the witness to sign an affidavit containing false statements regarding matters under investigation by the grand jury.    That witness was the former wife of a now-deceased Guinean government official who held an office in Guinea that allowed him to influence the award of mining concessions.
Cilins pleaded guilty on March 10, 2014 to a one-count superseding information charging him with obstruction of a federal investigation.    In addition to his sentence, he was ordered to pay a fine of $75,000 and forfeit $20,000.
The case was investigated by the FBI.    The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Tarek Helou of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant United States Attorney Elisha J. Kobre of the Southern District of New York.    The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and Office of Enforcement Operations provided valuable assistance in the investigation.
Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa .

 

Former Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Subsidiary BizJet Pleads Guilty to Foreign Bribery Charges

The former president and chief executive officer of BizJet International Sales and Support Inc., a U.S.-based subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG with headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that provides aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services, pleaded guilty today for his participation in a scheme to pay bribes to foreign government officials.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr., of the Northern District of Oklahoma and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
“The former CEO of BizJet, Bernd Kowalewski, has become the third and most senior Bizjet executive to plead guilty to bribing officials in Mexico and Panama to get contracts for aircraft services,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “While Kowalewski and his fellow executives referred to the corrupt payments as ‘commissions’ and ‘incentives,’ they were bribes, plain and simple.  Though he was living abroad when the charges were unsealed, the reach of the law extends beyond U.S. borders, resulting in Kowalewski’s arrest in Amsterdam and his appearance in court today in the United States.  Today’s guilty plea is an example of our continued determination to hold corporate executives responsible for criminal wrongdoing whenever the evidence allows.”
“I commend the investigators and prosecutors who worked together across borders and jurisdictions to vigorously enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” said U.S. Attorney Williams.  “Partnership is a necessity in all investigations. By forging and strengthening international partnerships to combat bribery, the Department of Justice is advancing its efforts to prevent crime and to protect citizens.”
Bernd Kowalewski, 57, the former President and CEO of BizJet, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and a substantive violation of the FCPA in connection with a scheme to pay bribes to officials in Mexico and Panama in exchange for those officials’ assistance in securing contracts for BizJet to perform aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services.
Kowalewski was arrested on a provisional arrest warrant by authorities in Amsterdam on March 13, 2014, and waived extradition on June 20, 2014.    Kowalewski is the third BizJet executive to plead guilty in this case.    Peter DuBois, the former Vice President of Sales and Marketing, pleaded guilty on Jan. 5, 2012, to conspiracy to violate the FCPA and a substantive violation of the FCPA and Neal Uhl, the former Vice President of Finance, pleaded guilty on Jan. 5, 2012, to conspiracy to violate the FCPA.    Jald Jensen, the former sales manager at BizJet, has been indicted for conspiracy as well as substantive FCPA violations and money laundering and is believed to be living abroad.

Charges were unsealed against the four defendants on April 5, 2013.
According to court filings, Kowalewski and his co-conspirators paid bribes directly to foreign officials to secure aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul contracts, and in some instances, the defendants funneled bribes to foreign officials through a shell company owned and operated by Jensen.    The shell company, Avionica International & Associates Inc., operated under the pretense of providing aircraft maintenance brokerage services but in reality laundered money related to BizJet’s bribery scheme.    Bribes were paid to officials employed by the Mexican Policia Federal Preventiva, the Mexican Coordinacion General de Transportes Aereos Presidenciales, the air fleet for the Gobierno del Estado de Sinaloa, the air fleet for the Gobierno del Estado de Sonora and the Republica de Panama Autoridad Aeronautica Civil.
Further according to court filings, the co-conspirators discussed in e-mail correspondence and at corporate meetings the need to pay bribes, which they referred to internally as “commissions” or “incentives,” to officials employed by the foreign government agencies in order to secure the contracts.    At one meeting, for example, in response to a question about who the decision-maker was at a particular customer organization, DuBois stated that a director of maintenance or chief pilot was normally responsible for decisions on where an aircraft went for maintenance work.    Kowalewski then responded by explaining that the directors of maintenance and chief pilots in the past received “commissions” of $3,000 to $5,000 but were now demanding $30,000 to $40,000 in “commissions.” Similarly, in e-mail correspondence between Uhl, DuBois, Kowalewski, and several others, Uhl responded to a question about BizJet’s financial outlook if “incentives” paid to brokers, directors of maintenance, or chief pilots continued to increase industry wide, stating that they would “work to build these fees into the revenue as much as possible.    We must remain competitive in this respect to maintain and gain market share.”
On March 14, 2012, the department announced that it had entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with BizJet, requiring that BizJet pay an $11.8 million monetary penalty to resolve charges related to the corrupt conduct.    That agreement acknowledged BizJet’s voluntary disclosure, extraordinary cooperation, and extensive remediation in this case.    In addition, the department announced on March 14, 2012, that BizJet’s indirect parent company, Lufthansa Technik AG, entered into an agreement with the department in which the department agreed not to prosecute Lufthansa Technik provided that Lufthansa Technik satisfies its obligations under the agreement for a period of three years.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office with substantial assistance form the Oklahoma Field Office.    The department has worked closely with its law enforcement counterparts in Amsterdam, Mexico and Panama, and has received significant assistance from Germany and Uruguay.    The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs has also provided assistance.    This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Daniel S. Kahn and Trial Attorney David Fuhr of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Leitch of the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Former Executive of French Power Company Subsidiary Pleads Guilty in Connection with Foreign Bribery Scheme

 

A former senior executive of a subsidiary of Alstom SA, the French power and transportation company, pleaded guilty today for his participation in a scheme to pay bribes to foreign government officials.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson of the District of Connecticut and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
William Pomponi, a former vice president of regional sales at Alstom Power Inc., the Connecticut-based power subsidiary of Alstom, pleaded guilty today in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut, to a criminal information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with the awarding of the Tarahan power project in Indonesia.    Pomponi was charged in a second superseding indictment on July 30, 2013.    Pomponi is the fourth defendant to plead guilty to charges stemming from this investigation.    Frederic Pierucci, the vice president of global boiler sales at Alstom, pleaded guilty on July 29, 2013, to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one count of violating the FCPA; and, David Rothschild, a former vice president of regional sales at Alstom Power Inc., pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA on Nov. 2, 2012.  Marubeni Corporation, Alstom’s consortium partner on the Tarahan project, pleaded guilty on March 19, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and seven counts of violating the FCPA, and was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $88 million.    FCPA and money laundering charges remain pending against Lawrence Hoskins, the former senior vice president for the Asia region for Alstom, and trial is scheduled for June 2, 2015.
“Three Alstom corporate executives and Marubeni, a major Japanese corporation, have now pleaded guilty to a seven-year scheme to pay bribes to Indonesian officials to secure a $118 million power contract,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “The Criminal Division of the Department of Justice will follow evidence of corruption wherever it leads, including into corporate boardrooms and corner offices.  As this case demonstrates, we will hold both companies and their executives responsible for criminal conduct.”
According to the court filings, the defendants, together with others, paid bribes to officials in Indonesia, including a member of the Indonesian Parliament and high-ranking members of Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), the state-owned and state-controlled electricity company in Indonesia, in exchange for assistance in securing a $118 million contract, known as the Tarahan project, to provide power-related services for the citizens of Indonesia from facilities in Tarahan.    To conceal the bribes, the defendants retained two consultants purportedly to provide legitimate consulting services on behalf of Alstom and Marubeni in connection with the Tarahan project.    In reality, the primary purpose for hiring the consultants was to use the consultants to pay bribes to Indonesian officials.
The first consultant retained by the defendants allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars in his Maryland bank account to be used to bribe the member of Parliament.    The consultant then allegedly transferred the bribe money to a bank account in Indonesia for the benefit of the official.    According to court documents, emails between Hoskins, Pomponi, Pierucci, Rothschild, and their co-conspirators discuss in detail the use of the first consultant to funnel bribes to the member of Parliament and the influence that the member of Parliament could exert over the Tarahan project.
However, in the fall of 2003, Hoskins, Pomponi, Pierucci and others determined that the first consultant was not effectively bribing key officials at PLN.    One email between Alstom employees described PLN officials’ “concern that if we have won the job, whether their rewards will still be satisfactory or this agent only give them pocket money and disappear.” In another email, an employee at Alstom’s subsidiary in Indonesia sent an email to Hoskins asserting that the first consultant “has no grip on the PLN Tender team at all” and “is more or less similar to [a] cashier which I feel we pay too much.”
As a result, the co-conspirators retained a second consultant to bribe PLN officials, according to the court documents.    The co-conspirators deviated from Alstom’s usual practice of paying consultants on a pro-rata basis in order to make a much larger up-front payment to the second consultant so that the consultant could “get the right influence.” An employee at Alstom’s subsidiary in Indonesia sent an email to Hoskins, Pomponi, Pierucci and others asking them to finalize the consultancy agreement with the front-loaded payments but stated that in the meantime the employee would give his word to a high-level official at PLN, according to the charges.    The defendants and their co-conspirators were successful in securing the Tarahan project and subsequently made payments to the consultants for the purpose of bribing the Indonesian officials.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being investigated by FBI agents who are part of the Washington Field Office’s dedicated FCPA squad, with assistance from the Meriden, Connecticut, Resident Agency of the FBI.    Significant assistance was provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, and the department has also received substantial assistance from its law enforcement counterparts in Indonesia, Switzerland and Singapore and greatly appreciates their cooperation.    The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Daniel S. Kahn of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David E. Novick of the District of Connecticut.

Marubeni Corporation Sentenced for FCPA Violations

Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese trading company involved in the handling of products and provision of services in a broad range of sectors around the world, including power generation, was sentenced today for its participation in a scheme to pay bribes to high-ranking government officials in Indonesia to secure a lucrative power project.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson of the District of Connecticut and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

Marubeni was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet B. Arterton in the District of Connecticut.  Marubeni pleaded guilty on March 19, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and seven counts of violating the FCPA.   The company signed a plea agreement in which it admitted its criminal conduct, agreed to maintain and implement an enhanced global anti-corruption compliance program and to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation, and agreed to pay an $88 million fine, which the court accepted in imposing the sentence.   The plea agreement cites Marubeni’s refusal to cooperate with the department’s investigation when given the opportunity to do so, its lack of an effective compliance and ethics program at the time of the offense, and its failure to timely remediate as several of the factors considered by the department in determining the resolution.

According to the court filings, Marubeni and its employees, together with others, paid bribes to officials in Indonesia – including a high-ranking member of the Indonesian Parliament and high-ranking members of Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), the state-owned and state-controlled electricity company in Indonesia – in exchange for assistance in securing a $118 million contract, known as the Tarahan project, for the company and its consortium partner to provide power-related services for the citizens of Indonesia.   To conceal the bribes, Marubeni and its consortium partner retained two consultants purportedly to provide legitimate consulting services on behalf of the power company and its subsidiaries in connection with the Tarahan project.   The primary purpose for hiring the consultants, however, was to use the consultants to pay bribes to Indonesian officials.

Also according to court filings, the first consultant retained by Marubeni and its co-conspirators received hundreds of thousands of dollars in his U.S. bank account to be used to bribe the member of Parliament.  The consultant then allegedly transferred the bribe money to a bank account in Indonesia for the benefit of the official.   E-mails between the co-conspirators discuss in detail the use of the first consultant to funnel bribes to the member of Parliament and the influence that the member of Parliament could exert over the Tarahan project.

As admitted in court documents, in the fall of 2003, Marubeni and its co-conspirators determined that the first consultant was not effectively bribing key officials at PLN.   As a result, Marubeni and its consortium partner decided to reduce the first consultant’s commission from three percent of the total contract value to one percent, and pay the remaining two percent to a second consultant who could more effectively bribe officials at PLN.   In an e-mail between two employees of Marubeni’s consortium partner, they discussed a meeting between Marubeni, an executive from the consortium partner, and the first consultant, stating that the consultant “committed to convince [the member of Parliament] that ‘one’ [percent] is enough.”   Marubeni and its co-conspirators were successful in securing the Tarahan project and subsequently made payments to the consultants for the purpose of bribing the Indonesian officials.

Frederic Pierucci, a current executive at Marubeni’s consortium partner, pleaded guilty on July 29, 2013, to one count of conspiring to violate the FCPA and one count of violating the FCPA.  David Rothschild, a former vice president of regional sales at the consortium partner, pleaded guilty on Nov. 2, 2012 to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.   Lawrence Hoskins, a former senior vice president for the Asia region for the consortium partner, and William Pomponi, a former vice president of regional sales at the consortium partner, were charged in a second superseding indictment on July 30, 2013.

This case is being investigated by FBI agents who are part of the Washington Field Office’s dedicated FCPA squad, with assistance from the Meriden, Connecticut, Resident Agency of the FBI.   Significant assistance was provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.   In addition, the department greatly appreciates the significant cooperation provided by its law enforcement counterparts in Indonesia at the Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (Corruption Eradication Commission), the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland and the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Daniel S. Kahn of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David E. Novick of the District of Connecticut.

Former Chief Executive Officer of Oil Services Company Indicted in New Jersey on Foreign Bribery and Kickback Charges

The former co-chief executive officer (CEO) of PetroTiger Ltd. – a British Virgin Islands oil and gas company with operations in Colombia and offices in New Jersey – was indicted today for his role in a scheme to pay bribes to foreign government officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to defraud PetroTiger.

Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Marshall Miller of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey and Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford of the FBI’s Newark Division made the announcement.

Joseph Sigelman, 43, of Miami and the Philippines, was indicted today by a federal grand jury in the District of New Jersey and charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and substantive FCPA and money laundering violations.    Gregory Weisman, 42, of Moorestown, New Jersey, the former general counsel of PetroTiger, pleaded guilty on Nov. 8, 2013, to conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud.    Sigelman’s co-CEO, Knut Hammarskjold, 42, of Greenville, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to the same charge on Feb. 18, 2014.

According to court records, Sigelman and others allegedly paid bribes to an official in Colombia in exchange for the official’s assistance in securing approval for an oil services contract worth roughly $39 million.    To conceal the bribes, they first attempted to make the payments to a bank account in the name of the foreign official’s wife for purported consulting services she did not perform.  Sigelman and Hammarskjold provided Weisman invoices, including her bank account information.    The conspirators made the payments directly to the official’s bank account when attempts to transfer the money to his wife’s account failed.    Sigelman and his conspirators then took steps to conceal the bribe payments from PetroTiger’s board members.

In addition, court documents allege that Sigelman and others attempted to secure kickback payments while negotiating an acquisition of another company on behalf of PetroTiger, including on behalf of several members of PetroTiger’s board of directors who were helping to fund the acquisition.    In exchange for negotiating more favorable terms for the owners of the target company, two of the owners agreed to kick back to the conspirators a portion of the increased purchase price.    To conceal the kickback payments, Sigelman and others had the payments deposited into Sigelman’s bank account in the Philippines, created a “side letter” to falsely justify the payments and used the code name “Manila Split” to refer to the payments amongst themselves.
Sigelman and Hammarskjold were charged by sealed complaints filed in the District of New Jersey on Nov. 8, 2013.    Hammarskjold was arrested Nov. 20, 2013, at Newark Liberty International Airport.    Sigelman was arrested on Jan. 3, 2014, in the Philippines.    The charges against Sigelman, Hammarskjold and Weisman were unsealed on Jan. 6, 2014.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case was brought to the attention of the department through a voluntary disclosure by PetroTiger, which cooperated with the department’s investigation.    The department has worked closely with and has received significant assistance from its law enforcement counterparts in the Republic of Colombia and greatly appreciates their assistance in this matter.    The department also thanks the Republic of the Philippines, including the Bureau of Immigration, and the Republic of Panama for their assistance in this matter.    Significant assistance was also provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Newark Division.    The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Daniel S. Kahn of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater of the District of New Jersey.

Antitrust and White-Collar Defense Luminary, Robert E. Connolly, Joins GeyerGorey LLP

Robert E. ConnollyGeyerGorey LLP announced today that Robert E. Connolly has joined the firm’s Washington, D.C. office as a partner.  Connolly spent most of his career as a prosecutor with the Middle Atlantic Field Office of the Antitrust Division, Department of Justice.   Connolly joined that office in 1980 and was Chief from 1994 until early 2013.  More recently, Robert E. Connolly has been with DLA Piper in Philadelphia.  Connolly will lead GeyerGorey’s corporate internal investigations practice.  Founding partner Brad Geyer said “Bob is a natural fit for our culture, which requires constant disciplined teamwork and focus on client solutions that spring from the firm’s’ deep prosecutorial experience”
Connolly said: “I am excited to join my former DOJ colleagues.  Collectively we have worked on many of the Division’s most significant criminal and civil matters.  We have unique insights and experience to offer clients. The firm’s unique approach and rapid growth further strengthens our ability to serve clients faced with government investigations.”
“We expect Bob will be involved in much of the firm’s current portfolio of work, in addition to leading the corporate internal investigation practice,” said founding partner Hays Gorey.  “Bob has a notable reputation for his representation in high-stakes matters. He will strengthen our ability to represent multinational clients in complex litigation, as well as in high-profile regulatory and enforcement agency investigations.”  Connolly will be also be part of GeyerGorey’s compliance team, which blends its experience in enforcement, in-house counseling, criminal and civil defense, and qui tam litigation, to help companies efficiently identify, address, and mitigate litigation risks from the onset and develop an organizational culture that encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to comply with the law.
In his career with the Division, Connolly led major national and international white-collar crime investigations in the areas of antitrust, fraud and obstruction of justice.  He is known for innovative investigative and trial strategy and a command presence in the courtroom.  He left the government with one of the, if not the most successful, trial records in Antitrust Division history. Connolly was known for his building and leading effective teams that had an extraordinary commitment to successfully completing the mission.
Notably, Connolly led the international graphite electrodes cartel grand jury investigation, which resulted in seven corporate and three individual convictions and approximately $437 million in fines, including what was then the largest post-trial criminal fine in Antitrust Division history.  The investigation was capped by charging, trying and convicting a foreign corporation of aiding and abetting the cartel.   Connolly, as lead trial attorney, along with GeyerGorey’s Wendy Norman, received the DOJ’s highest litigation honor, the John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement for Trial Litigation.  More recently, Connolly’s office led the historic effort to extradite Ian Norris to the United States from Britain to stand trial on obstruction of justice charges, of which Norris was later convicted.
In addition to his prosecutorial experience, Connolly was the Victor Kramer Fellow at Yale University in 1989-1990. He has served as an adjunct professor of antitrust law at Rutgers-Camden Law School and later Drexel School of Law.   He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the ABA Cartel and Criminal Practice committee and since leaving the Antitrust Division in 2013, has authored more than a dozen articles on U.S. and international competition law practice.