Foreign Official Pleads Guilty In Connection with FCPA Conspiracy
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was aimed at halting corrupt payments made to improperly influence foreign officials. In drafting the Act Congress chose not to impose liability on the foreign official involved in corrupt payments. While it might be argued that Congress did not intend to impose liability on those officials, that clearly has not been the case.
Vadim Mikerin is a Russian Federation official who is the most recent foreign official to pleaded guilty to charges tied to his role in an FCPA case. U.S. v. Mikerin, Cr. No. TDC -14-0529 (D.Md.). His guilty plea is one of two announced by the DOJ in connection with FCPA violations.
Mr. Mikerin, a resident of Maryland, was the Director of the Pan American Department of JSC Techsnabexport, or TENEX, from 2004 through 2010. He was also president of TENAM Corporation from late 2010 through October 2014. TENAX was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian Federation’s agency responsible for state property management. TENEX was a wholly owned subsidiary of another entity that was owned by the State Atomic Energy Corporation or ROSATOM. TENAX was the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, according to the plea agreement. TENAX and TENAM were instrumentalities of the Russian Federation.
Transportation Logistics International, a Maryland based firm that is a domestic concern, contacted with TENEX to transport uranium from Russia to the United States from 1996 through 2013. This was part of a U.S. program to remove unsecured nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union for cash.
Daren Condrey, a principal of Transportation Logistics, conspired with Mr. Mikerin and others over a ten year period beginning in 2004 to pay $2.1 million to Mr. Mikerin, according to the court papers. The money was funneled through a series of offshore shell companies in connection with the transportation contracts. The payments were concealed through the use of consulting agreements which used code words. In his plea agreement Mr. Mikerin admitted that the payments were made as part of a corrupt scheme to obtain unfair business advantage.
Mr. Mikerin pleaded guilty a one count superseding information charging him with conspiracy to commit money laundering. He has agreed to the entry of a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $2,126,622. He will be sentenced on December 8, 2015.
Mr. Condrey pleaded guilty on June 17, 2015 to conspiring to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud. He will be sentenced on November 2, 2015. Initially his wife was also charged although those charges were dropped as part of a plea deal. Mr. Condrey’s plea was announced yesterday along with that of Mr. Mikerin. Previously, Boris Rubizhevsk of Closter, New Jersey, reportedly an adviser to Mr. Mikerin, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He will be sentenced on October 19, 2015.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated the case raises “serious question,” according to the FCPA blog. This is not the first time that a foreign official has been criminally charged under U.S. law in connection with an FCPA conspiracy.