Bizjet International Sales and Support Inc., Resolves Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Investigation and Agrees to Pay $11.8 Million Criminal Penalty
WASHINGTON – BizJet International Sales and Support Inc., a provider of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services based in Tulsa, Okla., has agreed to pay an $11.8 million criminal penalty to resolve charges related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for bribing government officials in Latin America to secure contracts to perform aircraft MRO services for government agencies, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.
The department filed a one-count criminal information today charging BizJet with conspiring to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and a deferred prosecution agreement in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
According to court documents, BizJet paid bribes to officials employed by the Mexican Policia Federal Preventiva, the Mexican Coordinacion General de Transportes Aereos Presidenciales, the air fleet for the Gobierno del Estado de Sinaloa, the air fleet for the Gobierno del Estado de Sonora and the Republica de Panama Autoridad Aeronautica Civil. In many instances, BizJet paid the bribes directly to the foreign officials. In other instances, BizJet funneled the bribes through a shell company owned and operated by a BizJet sales manager. BizJet executives orchestrated, authorized and approved the unlawful payments.
Under the terms of the department’s agreement with BizJet, the department agreed to defer prosecution of BizJet for three years. In addition to the monetary penalty, BizJet agreed to cooperate with the department in ongoing investigations, to report periodically to the department concerning BizJet’s compliance efforts, and to continue to implement an enhanced compliance program and internal controls designed to prevent and detect FCPA violations. If BizJet abides by the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement, the department will dismiss the criminal information when the agreement’s term expires.
In addition, BizJet’s indirect parent company, Lufthansa Technik AG, itself a German provider of aircraft-related services, entered into an agreement with the department in connection with the unlawful payments by BizJet and its directors, officers, employees and agents. The department has agreed not to prosecute Lufthansa Technik provided that Lufthansa Technik satisfies its obligations under the agreement for a period of three years. Those obligations include ongoing cooperation and the continued implementation of rigorous internal controls.
The agreements acknowledge BizJet’s and Lufthansa Technik’s voluntary disclosure of the FCPA violations to the department and their extraordinary cooperation, including conducting an extensive internal investigation, voluntarily making U.S. and foreign employees available for interviews, and collecting, analyzing and organizing voluminous evidence and information for the department. In addition, BizJet and Lufthansa Technik engaged in extensive remediation, including terminating the officers and employees responsible for the corrupt payments, enhancing their due-diligence protocol for third-party agents and consultants, and heightening review of proposals and other transactional documents for all BizJet contracts.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Daniel S. Kahn and Stephen J. Spiegelhalter of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Leitch from the Northern District of Oklahoma has provided assistance in the case. The department has also worked closely with its law-enforcement counterparts in Mexico and Panama in this matter and is grateful for their assistance. The ongoing investigation is being assisted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.