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O’Shea Not Guilty Of Substantive FCPA Charges

[There are two posts today]

In November 2009 (see here), John Josepeh O’Shea (a former General Manager of ABB Inc.) was criminally charged “for his alleged role in a conspiracy to bribe Mexican government officials to secure contracts with the Comisión Federal de Electridad (CFE), a Mexican state-owned utility company.” See here for the prior post. 

Late yesterday in Houston, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Hughes (S.D. Tex.) granted O’Shea’s motion for acquittal and found him not guilty of all substantive FCPA charges.  According to a release from O’Shea’s counsel (Berg & Androphy), the motion was granted at the close of the DOJ’s case and the jury was dismissed.

According to the Berg & Androphy release: “In announcing his ruling, Judge Hughes said he found that the Government’s chief witness, an Esimex principal awaiting sentencing on conspiracy charges, could not tie Mr. O’Shea to the alleged crimes. The judge found that O’Shea’s conduct, including efforts to renew an ABB-Esimex contract, was reasonably explained by lawful motives.  The Court also expressed concern that the Government had granted immunity to Esimex’s founder, Fernando Basurto, Sr., allowing him to disclose selective information to the Government, while refusing to grant immunity to an important defense witness even six to seven years after the facts at issue. Basurto Sr. did not testify; the Government relied instead on his son’s testimony.”

Joel M. Androphy (here) stated as follows.  “Deflecting blame for bribery in corruption-ridden countries onto unknowing business executives is both Cervantian and unfair. My hope is that our victory for Mr. O’Shea will encourage others wrongfully accused under the FCPA to fight the charges against them.”

Sarah M. Frazier (here) stated as follows.   “We were prepared to try this case to verdict and show the public through expert testimony and Mr. O’Shea’s own testimony that these charges were unfounded and that he is an honest man caught up in a terrible situation.”
Ashley Gargour (here) stated as follows.   “Justice was served with this acquittal of Mr. O’Shea. A married father of two daughters and a recent grandfather, John has had an exemplary career for more than 35 years as an engineer, manager, and businessman specializing in computer systems that run electricity grids and other sophisticated infrastructure.”
In October 2010, ABB resolved an enforcement action based in part on the Mexico conduct alleged in the O’Shea indictment.  See here for the prior post.
The O’Shea case involved the same Mexican utility, CFE, that was at issue in the Lindsey Manufacturing case.  In December 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Howard Matz (C.D. Cal.) vacated  the convictions and dismissed the indictment – see here for the prior post.

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