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Reboot – Russian Nuclear Industry Bribery Scheme

reboot

Unfortunately in this day and age it is difficult to analyze the news. It seems that approximately 40% of Americans have their preferred news sources which report (and do not report) certain things, approximately 40% of other Americans have their preferred news sources which report (and do not report) certain things, which leaves approximately 20% Americans trying to figure what is actually going on.

For instance, certain media outlets this week (but not others) have devoted substantial coverage of the Obama administration approving “a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium” [even though] the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States.”

Part of this story is as follows:

“Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow.”

I claim no unique insight into this story, but am rebooting below a post previously highlighted on FCPA Professor on September 2, 2015 concerning an FCPA (and related) enforcement action brought by the Obama administration concerning portions of the underlying conduct recently in the news.

DOJ Announces FCPA And Related Actions In Connection With Russian Nuclear Industry Bribe Scheme – Additional Actions Likely

It’s not often the DOJ announces a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action via a one sentence statement in a press release about another enforcement action.But that is what the DOJ did earlier this week when it announced in this press release that Daren Condrey (50, of Glenwood, Maryland) pleaded guilty on June 17, 2015, to conspiring to violate the FCPA and conspiring to commit wire fraud.This June 2015 criminal information sets forth the DOJ’s allegations.According to the information, Condrey was an owner and executive of Transportation Corporation A (a Maryland headquartered company in the business of providing logistical support services for the transportation of nuclear materials to customers in the United States and to foreign customers) from August 1998 through in or about October 2014.According to this Wall Street Journal, Transportation Corporation A is Transport Logistics International (TLI).  In November 2014, TLI released this statement concerning the DOJ’s investigation.

The Condrey information alleges various bribe payments made to “Foreign Official One” to secure business with TENEX.

JSC Techsnabexport (“TENEX”) is described as a supplier of “uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies throughout the world on behalf of the government of the Russian Federation.”  According to the information, “TENEX was indirectly owned and controlled by, and performed functions of, the government of the Russian Federation, and thus was an “agency” and “instrumentality” of a foreign government, as those terms are used in the FCPA.”  The information further states:

“TENEX established a wholly-owned subsidiary company located in the United States in or about October 2010, TENAM Corporation (“TENAM”). TENAM was TENEX’s official representative office in the United States. TENAM was indirectly owned and controlled by, and performed functions of, the government of the Russian Federation, and thus was an “agency” and “instrumentality” of a foreign government, as those terms are used in the FCPA.”

“Foreign Official One”[Vadim Mikerin – see below] is described in the information as follows:

“[A] national of the Russian Federation, was a Director of TENEX from at least 2004 through in or about October 2010, and was the President of TENAM from in or about October 2010 through in or about October 2014. Foreign Official One was a”foreign official,” as that term is used in the FCPA. From in or about December 2011 through in or about October 2014, Foreign Official One was a resident of Maryland.”

According to the information, Condrey and others:

“with the knowledge of Foreign Official One, caused Transportation Corporation A to provide quotations and invoices to TENEX hiding the cost of the bribe payments promised to Foreign Official One within Transportation Corporation A’s pricing”;

“at the direction of Foreign Official One, attempted to conceal the payments to Foreign Official One by making the bribe payments to bank accounts in Cyprus, Latvia, and Switzerland”;

“sent email communications and used other forms of communication in which they used terms like “lucky figure,” “LF,” “cake,” and “remuneration” as code words to conceal the true nature of the bribe payments, and utilized fraudulent invoices which did not truthfully describe the services provided or the purpose of the payments”;

“caused Transportation Corporation A to act as a conduit for a bribe payment another company made to Foreign Official One in order to conceal that bribe payment;” and

“wired, and caused to be wired, payments from Transportation Corporation A’s bank account in Maryland to bank accounts in Cyprus, Latvia, and Switzerland for the purpose of making bribe payments to Foreign Official One.”

Based on the above allegations, Condrey was charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud.

In this June plea agreement, Condrey pleaded guilty. The statement of facts attached to the Condrey plea agreement also refers to the following company:

“Cylinder Corporation A was a company, based in Ohio, which engaged in the manufacture of tanks and vessels for the oil and gas, nuclear, and marine markets. Cylinder Corporation A secured contracts with TENEX to supply storage and transportation cylinders. In or about September 2012, Cylinder Corporation A was acquired by another company headquartered in Ohio (“Ohio Corporation”).”

According to this Wall Street Journal article:

“People familiar with the investigation identified that company as Westerman Cos., which was acquired by [publicly traded] Worthington Industries, Inc. in 2012 and now operates as Worthington Cylinders. Court records refer to the company as Cylinder Corporation A and identify its location as Bremen, Ohio.”

According to the DOJ’s release, Condrey will be sentenced on Nov. 2, 2015. Condrey is represented by Robert Bonsib.

Back to the DOJ’s press release earlier this week which made brief mention of the above FCPA enforcement action.  As noted in the release:

“[Vadim Mikerin] a Russian official residing in Maryland pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with his role in arranging over $2 million in corrupt payments to influence the awarding of contracts with the Russian state-owned nuclear energy corporation. According to court documents, Mikerin was the president of TENAM Corporation and a director of the Pan American Department of JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX).  TENAM, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is a wholly-owned subsidiary and the official representative of TENEX in the United States.  TENEX, based in Moscow, acts as the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide.  TENEX is a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation.”

According to the release, Mikerin is to be sentenced on Dec. 8, 2015.  See here for the Mikerin plea agreement. Mikerin is represented by former FCPA Unit Assistant Chief William Jacobson and Jonathan Lopez (both with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe).

As noted in the release, “Boris Rubizhevsky, 64, of Closter, New Jersey, pleaded guilty on June 15, 2015, to conspiracy to commit money laundering and will be sentenced on Oct. 19, 2015.” Rubinzhevsky is described in the Mikerin plea agreement as the owner and sole employee of “Consulting Corporation Two,” which was based in New Jersey.

*****

As highlighted in this follow-up post, in December 2015 Mikerin was sentenced to four years in prison and order to forfeit approximately $2.1 million dollars.

According to docket searches, Rubizhevsky’s and Condrey’s sentencing have continually been pushed back and numerous dockets in the matters have been filed under seal.

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