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DOJ Strikes Controversial Obstruction Count

The DOJ last week unilaterally dismissed the obstruction charge against Hong “Rose” Carson, one of the four FCPA defendants from Control Components Inc. She and the others still face 15 counts for conspiracy and violating the FCPA and the Travel Act.

The obstruction charge — punishable by up to 20 years in prison — alleged that Rose Carson flushed internal company documents down a toilet on her way to be interviewed by CCI’s lawyers in 2007. 

The charge was based on Section 802 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 codified at 18 U.S.C.§ 1519. It was the first time that law had been used in an FCPA-related case. It says:

Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States . . . or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

In its motion last week to dismiss, the government didn’t say why it was giving up the obstruction charge. It said only:

On April 8, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a 16-count indictment charging six defendants. Count sixteen of the indictment charges defendant Hong Carson with a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519. In the interests of justice, the government seeks an order dismissing count sixteen of the indictment.

Meanwhile, the defendants in the Carson case are seeking dismissal of all charges. They argue the FCPA doesn’t apply to payments made to officers and employees of state-owned enterprises. A hearing on their motion is set for March 21.

Our thanks to a loyal and often helpful reader who let us know about the government’s dismissal of the obstruction count against Rose Carson.

Download a copy of the government’s February 25, 2011 Ex Parte Application To Dismiss Count Sixteen Of The Indictment in U.S. v. Stuart Carson et al here.

Download a copy of the indictment in U.S. v. Carson et al here.

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