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Friday Roundup

Some FCPA developments and news to pass along this Friday.

Additional Prosecutor Joins DOJ FCPA Unit

As reported earlier this week in the New York Times (see here), Jeffrey Knox, a current federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York, will soon assume a new position in the DOJ’s FCPA unit. Knox, a prosecutor with extensive terrorism and foreign intelligence gathering experience, describes himself in the NY Times article “as a traditional law-and-order Republican.” Prior to becoming a DOJ prosecutor, Knox was an attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York. For additional coverage, see here from Christopher Matthews at Main Justice.

Flavio Ricotti Extradition

As detailed in this DOJ release, “Flavio Ricotti, a former executive of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based valve company Control Components Inc. (CCI), has been extradited to the United States from Germany in connection with his alleged participation in a conspiracy to secure contracts by paying bribes to officials of foreign state-owned companies as well as officers and employees of foreign and domestic private companies.” According to the release, “Ricotti, 49, of Bientina, Italy, was arrested on Feb. 14, 2010, in Frankfurt, Germany, and arrived in the United States on July 2, 2010.”

As noted in the release:

“Ricotti and five other former executives of CCI were charged on April 8, 2009, in a 16-count indictment (see here) for their alleged roles in the foreign bribery scheme. According to the indictment, Ricotti, who served as CCI’s vice president and head of sales for Europe, Africa and the Middle East from 2001 through 2007, allegedly caused CCI employees and agents to make corrupt payments totaling approximately $750,000 to officers and employees of state-owned companies, and corrupt payments totaling approximately $380,000 to officers and employees of private companies. According to the indictment, these corrupt payments occurred in connection with CCI projects in various countries around the world, including in the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, India and Qatar.”

For more on the CCI matter, see here.

Other foreign nationals facing extradition to the U.S. to face FCPA charges include Jeffrey Tesler, the U.K. agent at the center of the Bonny Island bribery scheme, and Wojciech Chodan, also a U.K. citizen and a former salesperson and consultant of a U.K. subsidiary of Kellogg, Brown & Root. (See here). British judges have ruled that Tesler and Chodan can be extradited to the U.S. and these individuals are appealing that decision. And then of course there is Viktor Kozeny (see here).

A good weekend to all.

An FCPA Triangle

First it was the company – Willsbros Group Inc. (see here).

Then, it was the company’s employees – Jim Bob Brown (see here) and Jason Steph (see here).

Finally, it is the company’s consultant – Paul Novak (see here).

An FCPA triangle of sorts.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for an FCPA square because, as has been noted in previous posts, the final piece of the puzzle … the “foreign official” will not be happening anytime soon as the FCPA only applies to the “briber-giver” not the “bribe-taker.”

As noted in the DOJ release, Novak (a former consultant for Willbros International Inc. – a subsidiary of Willbros Group Inc.) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one substantive count of violating the FCPA in connection with payments to Nigerian “foreign officials.”

Assistant Attorney General Breuer (the blog’s “person of the week” given his frequent mention here in the last few days) had this to say:

“The use of intermediaries to pay bribes will not escape prosecution under the FCPA. The Department will continue to hold accountable all the players in an FCPA scheme – from the companies and their executives who hatch the scheme, to the consultant they retain to carry it out.”

Of course, there still must be jurisdiction over the consultant, but this was not a problem in the Novak matter as he is a U.S. citizen and thus subject both to territorial jurisdiction (i.e. U.S. nexus – see 78dd-2(a)) or nationality jurisdiction (see 78dd-2(i)).

This isn’t the first time the DOJ has gone after consultants or agents. In March 2009, the DOJ unsealed indictments against U.K. citizens Jeffrey Tesler and Wojciech Chodan for their alleged roles in the KBR/Halliburton Nigeria bribery scheme. (see here for the DOJ release, here for the indictment).

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