French Citizen Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Obstructing Criminal Investigation Into Alleged Bribes Paid To Win Mining Rights In Guinea
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Mythili Raman, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, announced today the guilty plea of FREDERIC CILINS, a French citizen, for obstructing a federal criminal investigation into allegations of bribes paid to secure certain valuable mining rights in the Republic of Guinea. CILINS was arrested in April 2013 and pled guilty today before United States District Judge William H. Pauley, III.
According to the allegations contained in the superseding information and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:
CILINS sought to obstruct an investigation being conducted by a federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of New York into potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and money laundering. The investigation related to allegations that a mining company with which CILINS was affiliated paid bribes to officials of a former governmental regime of the Republic of Guinea to win valuable mining concessions in the Simandou region of Guinea. During monitored and recorded phone calls and face-to-face meetings, CILINS agreed to pay substantial sums of money to induce a witness to, among other things, destroy documents and turn over documents to Cilins for destruction, knowing that such documents were being sought by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and were to be produced before a federal grand jury. Cilins sought to induce the witness to sign an affidavit containing false statements regarding matters under investigation by the grand jury.
Cilins pled guilty to a one-count superseding information filed today, which alleges that Cilins sought to induce the witness to give him documents so that he could destroy them. According to the superseding information, those documents related to allegations concerning the payment of bribes to obtain mining concessions in the Simandou region of the Republic of Guinea and were sought by FBI agents. Cilins admitted as part of his guilty plea that he tried to induce the witness to leave the United States to avoid being questioned by the FBI about these allegations.
CILINS, 51, a resident of France, pled guilty to one count of obstructing a criminal investigation. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. CILINS is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Pauley on June 27, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of FBI in the investigation, which he noted is ongoing. He also thanked the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and Office of Enforcement Operations for their assistance in the investigation
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisha J. Kobre and Trial Attorney Tarek Helou of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division are in charge of the prosecution.