AUG 29 (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – Lida Amin, 39, of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Dublin, Calif., was arrested Wednesday in Prague, Czech Republic, by Czech authorities pursuant to a U.S. request for her provisional arrest with a view toward extradition, Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
The provisional arrest request was based on an indictment filed in the Eastern District of California on August 8, 2013, charging Lida Amin and her brother, Nabil Amin, with conspiring to bribe a public official in exchange for military contracts. Lida Amin is also charged with three counts of using interstate commerce facilities (transportation of goods on Interstate 80 and using Internet-based email) to aid in her bribery activities. The indictment was unsealed yesterday after Lida Amin was arrested by Czech officials. The Department of Justice will seek the extradition of Lida Amin to the United States.
According to the indictment, Lida Amin and Nabil Amin traveled to Budapest, Hungary, in September, 2012, to meet with a U.S. Air Force contract administrator to discuss the details of a scheme to obtain government contracts in exchange for bribe payments. The contract administrator had formerly been stationed in Afghanistan. The defendants’ scheme involved obtaining as many contracts as possible over an extended period of time by making bribe payments to the contract administrator after each contract was completed. In exchange for the bribe payments, the contract administrator would continue to assist Lida Amin and Nabil Amin in obtaining new government contracts.
The indictment alleges that Lida Amin and Nabil Amin established a plan to communicate with the contract administrator during the contract bidding process using a limited-access GMX webmail account to which both sides had access. The GMX account was used when a code word was mentioned over a different email account. When notified in this way, Lida Amin communicated with the contract administrator by creating draft emails in the GMX account, which, once read, could be deleted without being sent, thus minimizing the electronic record of their communications. According to the indictment, Lida Amin established companies and bank accounts in Afghanistan in the names of third parties and entities for the purpose of receiving proceeds from government contracts received through the bribery scheme. In connection with a bribe promise made to the contract administrator, Lida Amin, acting through one of her companies, Striker Logistics, shipped contract goods, including medical clothing and linens, to Travis Air Force Base in the Eastern District of California in July 2013.
Lida Amin was arrested in Prague after she traveled there to meet with the contract administrator. The charges against both defendants are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is the product of an extensive, joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Fremont Police Department. Assistance was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs and the Czech National Police. Assistant United States Attorney Michael M. Beckwith is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty for conspiracy to bribe a public official of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. The maximum statutory penalty for use of a facility in interstate commerce in aid of bribery activity is five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.The public is encouraged to report instances of public corruption and government fraud to the FBI by calling toll free 855-4NO-PCGF (855-466-7243). Callers must identify themselves, but they can remain anonymous if an investigation leads to an indictment.