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From The Docket – A Rare Restitution Order

Judicial Decision

I recently spent some time in the court dockets for individuals charged with Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses and discovered some interesting tidbits. Next week, these pages will highlight a motion to dismiss currently pending that generally escaped public attention.

In the meantime, this post concerns a rare restitution order issued in an individual FCPA enforcement requiring the defendant to pay $500,000 to a “victim.”

As highlighted in this prior post, in January 2017 the DOJ announced FCPA and related charges, against four individuals – including Sang Woo – for their roles in a scheme to pay $2.5 million in bribes to facilitate the $800 million sale of a commercial building in Vietnam (the so-called Landmark 72 building) to a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund.

The Woo criminal complaint alleges, among other things, that Woo “helped [CC-1 – an unindicted co-conspirator described as a commercial real estate broker in Manhattan] obtain a $500,000 loan from a businessman in New York in order to pay a bribe to Foreign Official-1, through the Intermediary, to induce the Fund to acquire Landmark 72.”

The complaint further alleges:

“[Unindicted co-consiprators] agreed to pay, through the Intermediary, a $500,000 upfront bribe to Foreign Official 1  […] To conceal the criminal nature of the upfront $500,000 bribe, Woo … helped CC-1 secure a $500,000 loan from the Businessman, who was Woo’s real estate business partner in New York. At the direction of CC-1 and Woo, the Businessman wrote a check from the bank account of the Businessman’s business for $500,00 to a company controlled by the Intermediary so that the Intermediary, in turn, could pay the $500,000 bribe to Foreign Official 1.”

In connection with Woo’s guilty plea, Judge Edgardo Ramos (E.D.N.Y) issued an order of restitution requiring Woo to pay “restitution in the amount of $500,000 to the victims” of his crimes. The accompanying “Schedule of Victims” contains one name: Jin Sup An and reference to a restitution amount of $500,000.

According to Mr. An’s attorney, T. Stephen Song, a restitution request was made directly to the DOJ prosecutor in the case. The request was made to receive back money Mr. An loaned to Sang Woo who used the money to effectuate the bribery scheme alleged in the FCPA enforcement action. Even though the judge ordered Woo to pay $500,000 in restitution to Mr. An, Mr. Song indicated that his client has never received any money pursuant to the restitution order.

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