Increasing bribes of foreign officials by U.S. companies to get business key focus of DOJ and SEC prosecutions

There has been a significant increase in the number and amount of bribes of foreign officials and their families by American businesses and their subsidiaries to get new business in other countries. Part of the reason may be tied to a decrease in US and Western European military spending so companies are relying on sales to foreign governments and are using bribes as a door opener for that business. However, the Department of Justice has announced that it will vigorously investigate and prosecute cases of foreign bribery to enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

In 2016, there were fouor major FCPA enforcement actions: Teva Pharmaceutical (Israel) $519 million; Odebrecht (Brazil); Och-ziff (United States) $412 million and VimpelCom (Holland) $397.6 million.

In one case, Three Texans and a Mexican businessman pleaded guilty to paying more than $2 million in bribes to Mexican officials for government-aircraft maintenance contracts. Kamta Ramnarine, 69, of Brownsville, is the former owner and general manager of Hunt Pan Am Aviation Inc., which provides airplane maintenance and fueling services at Brownsville-South Padre International Airport. Daniel Perez, 69, also of Brownsville, owned a stake in Hunt Pan Am Aviation from 1993 to 2010, according to federal charges unsealed Dec. 20 and publicized Tuesday by federal prosecutors.

Nearly $200,000 in bribes was wired from the bank account of his Houston-based company to the Texas bank accounts of several Mexican officials from March 2009 to February 2012, according to the charging document.

While employed as head of aircraft maintenance for a Mexican public university, one individual “attempted to conceal the corrupt scheme by creating fake commission agreements” to account for the thousands of dollars in bribes Ranmarine paid him to get the school’s business, according to court documents

Prosecutors worked with Department of Homeland Security and Internal Revenue Services investigated the case.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers. If you are aware of any company or individual who has paid a bribe to a foreign official or family member contact him by email.