Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests 22 in bribery sting operation.
Agence France-Presse Agence France-Presse (AFP)
French cooperative news agency. Based in Paris, it has roots in the Bureau Havas, created in 1832, which in 1835 became the Agence Havas, the world's first true news agency. , 19 January 2010.]
The Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), division of the U.S. Dept. of Justice charged with investigating all violations of federal laws except those assigned to some other federal agency. (FBI) agents have arrested 22 people working in the arms and security industries in a massive sting operation Noun 1. sting operation - a complicated confidence game planned and executed with great care (especially an operation implemented by undercover agents to apprehend criminals) , charging them with trying to bribe an African defense minister, U.S. officials said January 19. In the biggest operation ever of its kind, the 22--including at least three British nationals--were held under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
An amendment to the Securities Exchange Act created to sanction bribery of foreign officials by publicly held US companies.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA FCPA Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
FCPA Fairfax County Park Authority (Virginia)
FCPA Fujitsu Computer Products of America
FCPA Fair Campaign Practices Act
FCPA Fellow of CPA Australia
FCPA Florida Concrete & Products Association ), the Department of Justice said. The detainees--21 arrested January 18 in Las Vegas Las Vegas (läs vā`gəs), city (1990 pop. 258,295), seat of Clark co., S Nev.; inc. 1911. It is the largest city in Nevada and the center of one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States. , Nevada, the other in Miami--are charged with trying to obtain a $15 million contract in an African nation to outfit the presidential guard.
This ongoing investigation is the first large-scale use of undercover law enforcement techniques to uncover FCPA violations, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said. The fight to erase foreign bribery from the corporate playbook will not be won overnight, but these actions are a turning point. From now on, would-be FCPA violators should stop and ponder whether the person they are trying to bribe might really be a federal agent.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act bars U.S. companies and citizens from bribing foreign officials to win business. During a 2 1/2-year investigation, FBI agents pretended to be acting on behalf of the defense minister of an African country, although no such minister was involved in the operation.
The defendants allegedly agreed to pay a twenty percent "commission" to a sales agent who they thought represented the minister in order to win the contract. They were told half the "commission" would be paid to the defense minister. The sales agent was an undercover FBI agent, the Department of Justice said.
Corrupt payments to foreign officials to obtain or retain business erode public confidence in our free market system and threaten to undermine foreign governments, said Channing Phillips, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Most of the suspects worked for U.S. military equipment manufacturers; two worked for British firms and one for an Israeli company, the department said, without naming the businesses due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. The companies manufactured such items as ammunition, body armor, firearms, rifles, and grenade launchers, as well as tactical and ballistic equipment After the indictments were revealed, 150 agents carried out searches in fourteen places across the United States.
British police in London also carried out seven search warrants.
In this era of global commerce, the FBI is committed to curbing corruption at home or overseas. Companies should prosper through honest practices, not the practice of backroom deals and bribery, FBI Assistant Director Kevin Perkins said.
Former Justice Department Fraud Chief Steven Tyrrell called the arrests "extremely significant," both in numbers--twice as many FCPA cases were brought in 2009 than in 2008--and in the nature of the investigations.
These matters involve the use of traditional undercover investigative techniques--something we have not seen much of in the past in the FCPA context, Tyrrell said.