Richard Bistrong, the key intermediary identified as “Individual 1” in the historic bribery indictment of 22 people from the military and police-equipment industry, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Washington, D.C. to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other statutes.
Bistrong, a former vice president for international sales at Armor Holdings Inc., faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He reportedly agreed not to request a downward departure from the federal sentencing guidelines. His sentencing date hasn’t been set.
Bistrong helped the government build its case against the 22 shot-show defendants over at least two years. In the massive indictment, the biggest ever in an FCPA case, he was identified as “individual 1,” and was said to have been instrumental in introducing FBI agents to some of the defendants.
His guilty plea had been expected after he was charged in January in a one-count criminal information under the federal conspiracy statute (18 U.S.C. § 371). The information accused him of conspiring with others to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s antibribery provisions, 15 U.S.C. §78dd-1, its books and records provisions, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78m(b)(2)(A), 78m(b)(5) and 78ff(a), and the Commerce Department’s export license rules, 50 U.S.C. §§ 1701-1706 and 15 C.F.R. §§ 736.2, 764.2, and 774.
Bistrong’s former employer, Armor Holdings, was a publicly traded military equipment manufacturer based in Jacksonville, Florida. Amor became a subsidiary of BAE Systems after the British firm acquired it in 2007. Bistrong was fired after the acquisition.
The DOJ alleged that from 2001 through 2006, he and others concealed about $4.4 million in payments to agents and other intermediaries who helped Armor Products obtain business from “foreign government customers” in Nigeria and the Netherlands.
Payments for sales to the United Nations for its mission in Iraq were also involved. Representatives of “public international organizations” such as the U.N. are “foreign officials” under the FCPA. 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-l(f)(l)(A) and 78dd-l(f)(I)(B).
The information also alleged that in March 2004, Bistrong and another employee authorized the export from the U.S. to the United Arab Emirates for further shipping to Iraq of vests and helmets “without obtaining a required license from the Commerce Department to do so.”
View the DOJ’s September 16, 2010 release here.
Download a copy of the information in U.S. v. Richard T. Bistrong here.