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Hoskins Seeks Judgment Of Acquittal Or New Trial

As highlighted in this prior post [1], last month Lawrence Hoskins (a United Kingdom national and former senior vice president for the Asia region for France-based Alstom) was found guilty of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related offenses “for his role in a multi-year, multimillion-dollar foreign bribery scheme and a related money laundering scheme.”

The long-drawn out case has had many interesting twists and turns as Hoskins was charged in 2013 for conduct that occurred between 2002 and 2004. Moreover, as highlighted in prior posts [2], both the trial court and Second Circuit rejected the DOJ’s expansive jurisdiction enforcement theory against the foreign national. Nevertheless, the case was allowed to proceed to trial largely on the factual issue of whether Hoskins was “an agent of a domestic concern.”

Recently, Hoskins filed this motion [3] seeking a judgment of acquittal or, in the alternative, a new trial. The brief is factually dense, but states in summary fashion:

“Mr. Hoskins respectfully moves pursuant to Rules 29 and 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure for a judgment of acquittal on all counts or, in the alternative, a new trial. Even when viewed in the light most favorable to the government, the evidence admitted at trial was insufficient for any rational trier of fact to find that the government has proven Mr. Hoskins’s guilt with respect to any of the charged offenses. Specifically, the evidence at trial was insufficient for any reasonable jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) that Mr. Hoskins was an agent of Alstom Power Inc. (“API”), in connection with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) offenses charged in Counts One through Seven; or 2) that Mr. Hoskins knew that transfers of funds would be made from the United States, as required to convict on the money laundering charges set forth in Counts Eight through Ten and Twelve. Further, the trial evidence was insufficient for the jury to conclude by a preponderance of the evidence that venue in the District of Connecticut was established for Counts Nine, Ten and Twelve.

First, with respect to agency, the specific allegations at issue relate exclusively to whether Mr. Hoskins acted as API’s agent in connection with the retention of two third-party consultants on the Tarahan project. The undisputed facts at trial demonstrated that Mr. Hoskins was not API’s agent; he was not employed by API, did not report to anyone at API, and no one at API had the right to direct or control Mr. Hoskins’s activities in any respect, including as relating to these consultants. To the contrary, the undisputed facts demonstrated that Mr. Hoskins’s role within Alstom conferred upon him, among other things, the right to oversee and approve API’s requests to hire such consultants. The evidence at trial conclusively established that, on the Tarahan project, Mr. Hoskins acted consistently with this corporate oversight authority and, further, that no one at API had the right to override or otherwise abrogate his authority. Thus, there is simply no evidence, let alone proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that API controlled Mr. Hoskins’s actions with respect to the retention of consultants in connection with the Tarahan project. As such, Mr. Hoskins was not an agent of API for the alleged FCPA violations. Moreover, because the evidence is insufficient to show that Mr. Hoskins was acting as an agent of API in connection with Counts One through Seven, the application of the FCPA to his conduct would impermissibly expand the extraterritorial scope of the statute. Therefore, a judgment of acquittal should be entered on these counts.

Second, the evidence at trial was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Hoskins knew that funds would be transferred from the United States as required to prove any of the money laundering charges. In fact, there is no evidence in the record whatsoever that would support a conclusion that Mr. Hoskins knew or believed that payments to the Tarahan consultants would flow through the United States. To the contrary, the undisputed facts make clear that it was not standard practice for payments to third-party consultants to be made from or within the United States, but rather for such consultants to be paid by Alstom’s Swiss affiliate. The relevant consulting agreements in this case make that clear, as both the agreement with Azmin Aulia and the original consulting agreement with Pirooz Sharafi explicitly prohibited payments in the United States. The mere fact that Mr. Sharafi’s agreement was subsequently amended and that he ultimately made payments to Indonesia from a bank account in Maryland—payments made long after Mr. Hoskins left Alstom—are beside the point; the relevant issue is whether Mr. Hoskins knew he would do so. No testimony or document supports that conclusion. Thus, there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Hoskins knew that API would pay either of the Tarahan consultants from or within the United States, or that Mr. Sharafi would make any payments from the United States.

Lastly, venue for the substantive money laundering charges is plainly insufficient. There is no evidence that the payments from Mr. Sharafi’s account in Maryland to Indonesia, as charged in Counts Nine, Ten and Twelve, constituted “continuing transactions” begun in Connecticut as required by 18 U.S.C. § 1956(i)(3). Therefore, Mr. Hoskins is entitled to a judgment of acquittal on that basis as well.”

[4]