The press is reporting that the Department of Justice on August 21, 2007 appealed the dismissal of FCPA charges against three men in connection with a bribery scheme in Azerbaijan.
On June 21, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed all FCPA and related counts of an indictment against Viktor Kozeny, Frederic Bourke, Jr. and David Pinkerton. The District Court said the statute of limitations had run. The Justice Department argued that the five-year limitations period should be tolled based on the government’s official requests for foreign evidence from the Netherlands and Switzerland.
The October 2005 indictment accused the three in a scheme to bribe senior government officials in Azerbaijan in order to ensure the privatization of the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (“SOCAR”).
On July 6, 2007, hedge fund Omega Advisors, Inc. acknowledged that Clayton Lewis, one of its former employees, had learned, prior to Omega’s investment in the privatization of SOCAR, that Kozeny had entered into arrangements with some officials of the government of Azerbaijan that gave those officials a financial interest in the privatization. Lewis pleaded guilty on February 10, 2004 to conspiracy to violate the FCPA .
Omega entered into a settlement agreement with the DOJ and will not be prosecuted for any crimes related to its participation. Omega civilly forfeited $500,000 and agreed to continue to cooperate with the Government in connection with its investigation and prosecution of the case.
As a postscript, the DOJ noted that Omega invested more than $100 million in the Azeri privatization program in the spring and summer of 1998 and lost all of its investment, and to date privatization has not occurred.
View A Press Report of the Government’s Appeal Here.
View the DOJ’s Announcement of the Omega Settlement Here.
View the DOJ’s Announcement of the Indictment Against Kozeny et al Here.