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Tag: foreign corrupt practice act

8 Executives Charged in $100 Million Foreign Bribe Scheme

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If you’re going to bribe a country, you might as well do it big time.

That’s what eight former executives and agents of Siemens AG and its subsidiaries must have figured.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that the eight had been charged with allegedly engaging in a decade-long scheme to bribe senior Argentina officials  to secure, implement and enforce a $1 billion contract with the government to produce national identity cards.

“Today’s indictment alleges a shocking level of deception and corruption,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer in a statement. “Business should be won or lost on the merits of a company’s products and services, not the amount of bribes paid to government officials.

The indictment charges that the defendants and their co-conspirators conspired to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the wire fraud statute, money laundering conspiracy and wire fraud.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the defendants bribed Argentine officials in two successive administrations “and paid off countless others in a successful effort to secure a billion dollar contract.”

The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to conceal the illicit payments.

For instance, authorities said, one person made cash withdrawals from Siemens AG general-purpose accounts in Germany totaling approximately $10 million, transported the cash across the border into Switzerland and deposited the funds into Swiss bank accounts for transfer to officials.

The defendants charged in the indictment returned late Monday included Uriel Sharef, a former member of the central executive committee of Siemens AG; Herbert Steffen, a former chief executive officer of Siemens Argentina; Andres Truppel, a former chief financial officer of Siemens Argentina; Ulrich Bock, Stephan Signer and Eberhard Reichert, former senior executives of Siemens Business Services (SBS); and Carlos Sergi and Miguel Czysch, who served as intermediaries and agents of Siemens in the bribe scheme.

 

Oracle Investigation Latest in Trend in Foreign Corrupt Practice Act Crackdown by Justice Dept.

 
By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The Software company Oracle is being investigated by the FBI, reports the Guardian, in what some see as a trend in the increase of prosecutions under the foreign corrupt practices act (FCPA), which forbids U.S. companies from paying bribes to foreign government officials or employees of state-owned companies.

“Every week there seem to be more and more companies going through what Oracle is going through,” said Butler University professor Mike Koehler, who maintains a blog on the subject, according to The Guardian.

Koehler cited increasing globalization and the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which brought stricter corporate disclosure requirements, for the increase. He said  FCPA actions in 2010 accounted for 50% of the fines levied by the Justice department’s criminal division.

“The Justice Department brought 24 enforcement actions in 2010, up from five in 2004, and has brought seven so far this year,” the Guardian reports.

Other software companies have or are facing similar concerns; Hewlett-Packard is currently under investigation, and IBM paid the SEC $10 million this year on similar charges.

Investigators are looking at whether or not Oracle or it’s employees paid government officials to secure software contracts in western and central Africa.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Ex-Atty. Gen. Mukasey Works to Water Down Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, Daily Kos Reports

Ex-Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Daily Kos website writes that ex-Attorney Gen. Michael Mukasey “has a new gig in which to ply his talents: making it easier for corporations to bribe foreign governments.”

The site writes that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FPCA) was designed to prevent U.S.-based multinational corporations from bribing foreign governments. The Obama administration seems to be stepping up efforts in this area.

The Daily Kos reports that Mukasey, who is a partner in the firm Debevoise & Plimpton, has filed lobbying papers and is working on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to water down the  Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“The Chamber has become increasingly critical of the FCPA in recent months,” the Daily Kos wrote. “It argues that the law, which allows the U.S. government to seek charges against corporations and individuals for bribes paid to local officials in other countries, is not working well and could be making U.S. companies less competitive.”

“The expansion in prosecutions and investigations of course has brought a great deal of anxiety to companies in the United States,” Mukasey said at the Chamber’s annual legal summit, according to video of the panel, the Daily Kos reported.

To read more click here.

OTHER WEEKEND STORIES OF INTEREST