DOJ Charges Four Bizjet Executives With FCPA Violations
The Department of Justice unsealed four FCPA indictments last week against individuals involved in the Bizjet International Sales and Support, Inc. cases settled last year. The charges were brought against Bernd Kowaleski, the former president and chief executive officer of the company, Jald Jensen, the former sales manager, Peter DuBois, the former vice president of sales and marketing and Neal Uhl, the former vice president of finance. Bizjet is an indirect subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG, a German provider of aircraft related services.
Messrs. DuBois and Uhal pleaded guilty to criminal informations on January 5, 2012, about two months before the company settled. Each entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mr. DuBois also entered a guilty plea to one count of violating the FCPA. Each man’s sentence was reduced to probation and eight months of home confinement. Under the sentencing guidelines Mr. DuBois would have received a sentence of 108 to 120 months in prison while Mr. Uhl would have been sentenced to serve 60 months in prison.
Messrs. Kowaleski and Jensen have not been arrested. Both fled in January 2012. Each man is named in an indictment charging conspiracy to violate the FCPA, substantive violations of the Act and money laundering.
The charges against the four men stem from the conduct alleged in the underlying case against the company. There company officials were alleged to have paid bribes to officials employed by the Mexican Policia Federal Preventiva, the Mexican Coordination General de Transportes Aereos Presidenciales, the air fleet for the Gobierno del Estado de Sinaloa, the air fleet for the Goblerno del Estado de Sonora and the Republica de Panama Autoridad Aeronautica Civil. In some instances the bribes were paid directly. In others they were paid through a shell company owned by a company official. Bizjet was named in a one count criminal information alleging conspiracy to violate the FCPA anti-bribery provisions.
To resolved the matter the company entered into a deferred prosecution agreement. Under the agreement the company paid an $11.8 million criminal fine which is about a 30% reduction from the bottom of the guideline fine range. The company also agreed to implement a compliance and ethics program and report to the DOJ at no less than twelve month intervals during the three year term of the agreement. The agreement reflects the cooperation of the company. U.S. v. Bizjet International Sales and Support, Inc., Case No. 12 cr 61 (N.D. Okla. Filed March 14, 2012)
As part of the resolution of the corporate case the DOJ also entered into an agreement with Lufthansa Technik. Under the terms of the agreement the firm would not be prosecuted as long as it complies with its undertakings which are to continue cooperating and implementing rigorous procedures over three years.