WASHINGTON – A former Kyrgyzstan country manager for a U.S. tobacco company has pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to pay bribes to officials of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, and Shawn Henry, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Bobby Jay Elkin Jr., 50, of Washington, N.C., pleaded guilty yesterday to a one-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) before Senior U.S. District Judge Jackson L. Kiser for the Western District of Virginia in Danville, Va. At sentencing, Elkin faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.
Elkin admitted to conspiring to make corrupt payments totaling more than $3 million to foreign government officials in Kyrgyzstan from 1996 through 2004 for the purpose of securing business advantages for his employer. Elkin admitted he made cash payments to officials of the Kyrgyz tobacco authority, an instrumentality of the government, in order to obtain export licenses and to gain access to government-owned tobacco processing facilities. According to court documents, the payments were based on the number of kilograms of Kyrgyz tobacco Elkin’s employer purchased and processed for export. In addition, Elkin admitted he made cash payments to local government officials, known as Akims, to obtain permission to purchase tobacco from local growers, and to the Kyrgyz Tax Inspection Police to influence their decisions and avoid lengthy tax inspections and penalties.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney John A. Michelich of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance in this matter. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office.