WASHINGTON – On April 22, 2008, former World Bank employee, Ramendra Basu, a national of India and a permanent legal resident alien of the United States, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for conspiring to steer World Bank contracts to consultants in exchange for kickbacks and assisting a contractor in bribing a foreign official in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, announced Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division.
In addition to the 15 month prison sentence, Judge Richard Roberts of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sentenced the defendant to two years supervised release and 50 hours of community service. Basu pleaded guilty on Dec. 17, 2002.
Basu previously cooperated with U.S. and Swedish authorities and then moved unsuccessfully to withdraw his guilty plea. Basu admitted that between 1997 and 2000, while a World Bank Trust Funds Manager, he conspired with a Swedish consultant and others to steer World Bank contracts for business in Ethiopia and Kenya to certain Swedish companies in exchange for kickbacks amounting to $127,000.
Basu also assisted the Swedish consultants in bribing an official of the government of Kenya by, among other things, arranging for $50,000 to be wire transferred to an account outside the United States for the benefit of the Kenyan official.
In a related case, co-conspirator and former World Bank Task Manager Gautam Sengupta, a national of India and a permanent legal resident alien of the United States, pleaded guilty in February 2002 to the same charges and was sentenced in February 2006. In addition, the Swedish consultants were prosecuted and convicted by the government of Sweden.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney David Bybee and former Trial Attorney Thomas McCann Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, with substantial investigatory assistance provided by the World Bank.