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DOJ Brings Additional Criminal Charges In Connection With PetroEcuador Bribery Scheme

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Similar to how the April 2018 indictment of Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda alleging a bribery scheme involving PetroEcuador officials generally went unnoticed (see here for the prior post), this May 2019 indictment of Armengol Alfonso Cevallas Diaz (an Ecuadorian citizen) and Jose Melquiades Cisneros Alarcon (an Ecuadorian citizen and permanent resident of the U.S.) concerning the same alleged bribery scheme also generally went unnoticed.

The indictment charges Cevallos and Cisneros with conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and numerous money laundering offenses.

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Stiffed By Co-Conspirators, Individual Cooperates With Government And The End Result Is Yet Another FCPA Enforcement Action Concerning Conduct In Venezuela

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Earlier this week, the DOJ announced yet another Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related enforcement action concerning conduct in Venezuela.

Jesus Ramon Veroes and Luis Alberto Chacin Haddad were each charged and plead guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions in connection with obtaining various contracts with Corporacion Electric Nacional S.A. (Corpoelec), Venezuela’s state-owned electric company.

In the resolution documents, Veroes is described as a Venezuelan citizen whose close relative is the President of NV Oriental Trading Corporation (a company based in Doral, Florida) and Chacin is described as a Venezuelan citizen and resident of the U.S. who owns and manages businesses in Miami including Search Trading LLC and Headline LLC (companies that purchase goods from around the world for export to Central and South America).

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In Connection With MTS Enforcement Action, DOJ Also Announces Individual FCPA Criminal Charges As Well As Money Laundering Charges Against Alleged “Foreign Official”

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In connection with the recent MTS Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action (see here for the prior post), the DOJ also announced FCPA and related criminal charges against Bekhzod Akhmedov (a citizen of Uzbekistan and former executive of an MTS entity) as well as money laundering charges against Gulnara Karimova (pictured – the former Uzbek official at the center of the telecom bribery scheme who allegedly had influence over the Uzbek governmental body that regulated the telecom industry).

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Former Cognizant Technology Solutions Executives Criminally And Civilly Charged In Connection With Indian Planning Permit – Company Resolves $25 Million SEC Enforcement Action

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In this 2016 post highlighting Cognizant Technology Solutions’s disclosure of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act scrutiny it was also noted that Gordon Coburn resigned from his position as President of Cognizant Technology Solutions. This follow-up post noted that the two disclosures were likely related.

Sure enough as today the DOJ announced that Coburn and Steven Schwartz (Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer) were criminally charged with FCPA violations. If the defendants choose to put the DOJ/SEC to its burden of proof, disputed issues will likely focus on corrupt intent, obtain or retain business and the facilitating payments exception.

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DOJ Individual Actions: The Strange Public – Private Divide

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This recent post highlighted certain facts and figures regarding the DOJ’s prosecution of individuals for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses in 2018 and historically.

As highlighted in the prior post, DOJ FCPA individual enforcement actions are significantly skewed by a small handful of enforcement actions and the reality is, despite the DOJ’s rhetoric, approximately 80% of DOJ corporate enforcement actions since 2006 have not (at least yet) resulted in any related DOJ FCPA charges against company employees.

Another very interesting and significant picture emerges when analyzing actual DOJ individual FCPA prosecutions based on whether the individual charged was employed by or otherwise associated with an issuer or a private business organization.

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