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Press Release

Former Executive Sentenced To 22 Months’ Imprisonment For Conspiracy To Bribe Panamanian Officials

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO – A former regional director of the technology company SAP International Inc. was sentenced to prison today for his role in a scheme to bribe Panamanian officials to secure the award of government technology contracts announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Division, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas McMahon of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

Vicente Eduardo Garcia, 65, of Miami, was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California.   In addition to the prison term, Judge Breyer sentenced Garcia to three years of supervised release.  On Aug. 12, 2015, Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  On July 15, 2015, Garcia and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) entered into a settlement of the parallel SEC investigation in which Garcia agreed, among other things, to pay disgorgement of $85,965 plus prejudgment interest.  For this reason, the United States did not request, and the Court did not order, forfeiture in the criminal action.

In his plea, Garcia admitted that in late 2009, to secure for SAP a multimillion-dollar contract to provide a Panamanian state agency with a technology upgrade package, Garcia conspired with others to bribe two Panamanian government officials directly and a third official through an agent.  Garcia admitted that the conspirators used sham contracts and false invoices to disguise the true nature of the bribes and that he believed paying such bribes was necessary to secure the initial and any future Panamanian government contracts.  Panamanian officials awarded the $14.5 million contract, which included $2.1 million in SAP software licenses, to SAP’s partner as well as subsequent contracts that also included the provision of SAP products.  Garcia personally received over $85,000 in kickbacks for arranging the bribes.

The FBI and IRS-CI investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam A. Reeves of the Northern District of California and Trial Attorney Aisling O’Shea of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and the SEC, which previously announced separate civil charges against Garcia, provided assistance.   

Updated April 19, 2017

Public Corruption