A Continued Focus On Individuals In FCPA Cases

The SEC and DOJ concluded three FCPA cases it had previously filed against three former executives of ITXC Corporation. These cases are consistent with the focus on individuals in FCPA cases by the SEC and DOJ.

ITXC is a publicly held international telecommunications carrier based in Princeton, New Jersey that sought to do business in Africa. The defendants are Steven Ott, former Vice President of Global Sales; Roger Michael Young, former Managing Director of the Middle East and Africa; and Yaw Osei Amoako, the former Regional Director for Sales in Africa.

According to the complaints, the three defendants are alleged to have negotiated and/or approved bribes that the company paid to foreign officials in Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal. The bribes were alleged to have been paid to obtain contracts necessary for ITXC to transmit telephone calls to individuals and businesses in those countries. From August 2001 to May 2004 over $267,000 in bribes were paid. During the same period, the company made approximately $11.5 million in net profits from the contracts.

To settle the cases Messrs. Ott, Young and Amoako each consented to the entry of an injunction prohibiting future violations of the FCPA bribery and books and records provisions. In addition, Mr. Amoako, who was alleged to have received $150,000 through embezzlement and a kickback in connection with the bribery scheme, was ordered to pay over $188,000 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. The SEC is continuing its investigation. SEC v. Ott, Civil Action No. 06-4195 (D.N.J. Sept. 6, 2006); SEC v. Amoako, Civil Action No. 05-4284 (D.N.J. Sept. 1, 2005). The SEC’s Litigation Release regarding the settlement is here.

To resolve these matters with DOJ, each defendant pled guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA and the Travel Act. Mr. Amoako was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Messrs. Ott and Young are awaiting sentencing. U.S. v. Ott, No. 07-608 (D.N.J. July 25, 2007); U.S. v. Young, No. 07-609 (D.N.J. Sept. 25, 2007); U.S. v. Amoako, No. 05-1122 (D.N.J. June 28, 2006).