Public Corruption

Couple of interesting press releases from the DOJ today involving public corruption.

The first involves a South Korean businessman who was arrested “on a criminal complaint charging him with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, to commit wire fraud and to commit bribery, and one count of bribery.”  (The allegations stem out of a telecom contract involving employees of the Army Air Force Exchange Service.)  What is interesting about the charges is that they are brought in a criminal complaint.  The vast majority of federal charges are brought initially via indictment, and criminal complaints are typically used when it is felt that there is an emergency requiring the individual to be arrested immediately.  A criminal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged, and it must be presented under oath to a magistrate judge or other competent judicial authority.  If the magistrate judge feels there is probable cause, then he will issue an arrest warrant.  After the individual is arrested and brought before the magistrate judge, a couple of things can happen.  First, the case can proceed on the complaint, or, if the individual so chooses, he can ask that his case go to the grand jury for a formal indictment to be issued.  Sometimes, the complaint process is used to buy time to get more charges incorporated into an indictment.

The other public corruption case involves the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which is one of those laws that shows just how far the United States’ extraterritorial jurisdiction extends.  Aibel Group, Ltd, a UK-based company, pleaded guilty in the Southern DIstrict of Texas on a two-count criminal information, “charging a conspiracy to violate the FCPA and a violation of the FCPA.”  Aibel Group has agreed to pay a $4.2 million fine, and “to serve a two year term of organizational probation that requires, among other things, that it submit periodic reports regarding its progress in implementing antibribery compliance measures.”