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Ninth Circuit Concludes That Bribery Means More Than Just 18 USC 201

Judicial Decision

As highlighted in this post, recently the Second Circuit concluded in U.S. v. Ng Lap Seng that just because 18 U.S.C. 201 (the so-called domestic bribery statute) and the FCPA (as well as other statutes) all concern bribery does not therefore mean that all bribery statutes have the same elements or interpretations.

Recently, the Ninth Circuit concluded the same thing in U.S. v. Heon-Cheol Chi. (See here for the decision).

The decision sets forth the following relevant background:

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With Chi Guilty Verdict, Focus Shifts To Kinemetrics And Guralp Systems


The DOJ recently announced that Heon-Cheol Chi (Chi) of South Korea, “the Director of South Korea’s Earthquake Research Center at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) was convicted … following a four-day jury trial of laundering bribes that he received from two seismological companies based in California and England through the U.S. banking system.”

As noted here, according to court documents the companies are Kinemetrics (a California company that designs technologies, products, and solutions for monitoring earthquakes and their effects on people and structures) and Guralp Systems Ltd. (a U.K. company that designs, manufactures and delivers products, services, systems and solutions for a wide range of applications for the seismological research community as well as the the oil & gas, civil engineering and energy sectors.)

With the Chi guilty verdict, focus shifts to Kinemetrics and Guralp Systems and when asked if there would be an FCPA enforcement action against these companies a DOJ spokesperson informed me via e-mail that “the investigation is ongoing.”

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