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Tesler’s $148.9 Million Forfeiture Raises Big Questions

In his plea deal today in federal court in Houston, Jeffrey Tesler — one-time middleman for KBR and its partners in the TSKJ consortium — agreed to forfeit $148,964,568.67.

It’s the largest-ever FCPA-related forfeiture order against an individual.

Tesler agreed to satisfy the amount of the forfeiture by transferring to the U.S. government the assets of accounts in the following banks:

UBP (Geneva)

HSBC (Geneva) (four accounts)

Ferrier Lullin (Geneva)

JP Morgan (Geneva)

Banque Leu (Geneva)

HSBC (Zurich)

UBS (Zurich)

FIBI Bank (Geneva)

Julius Baer (Geneva)

Bank Hapoalim (Jerusalem)

Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. (Israel)

Israel Discount Bank (two accounts)

The forfeiture order raises questions that haven’t yet been answered in court. What are all of the sources of Tesler’s cash? Who besides Tesler may have held beneficial interests in the bank accounts — such as Nigerian or other government officials? And did the banks holding the accounts do any due diligence to know Tesler and the source of his funds?

In its release today, the DOJ said:

As part of his plea agreement, Tesler agreed to forfeit $148,964,568. At sentencing, scheduled for June 22, 2011, Tesler faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge, and five years in prison on the FCPA violation charge.

Tesler is now cooperating with the DOJ to earn a lighter sentence.

The DOJ said it had help in the case from “the authorities in France, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, including in particular the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office’s International Assistance and Anti-Corruption Units, the London Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police in the United Kingdom.”

Download the March 11, 2011 plea agreement in U.S. v. Tesler here.

Download the indictment in U.S. v. Tesler here.

Read our prior posts about Jeffrey Tesler here.

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Our thanks to a reader who provided Tesler’s plea agreement.

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2 Comments

  1. When I was a Bronx ADA, if we thought that someone was posting bail using dirty money, we could ask for an "examination of surety." They'd have to disclose the source of the funds they were seeking to use to post bail. And we got a chance to ask questions.

    It really sounds like they need to do that here. Should Tesler be allowed to use proceeds from other bribery-related schemes to satisfy his forfeiture? I would think not.

  2. Forgive me if this is a basic question, and forgive the fact that it is a question, but under what principle are the names of the beneficiaries of Mr Tesler's largesse redacted from the plea agreement and other court documents? Secondly, if he and the others all make plea agreements, does that mean none of the bribe takers' names will be published?


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