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DOJ May End Africa Sting Prosecutions

The boss of the DOJ’s criminal division and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia asked Judge Richard Leon Tuesday for time to consider ‘whether to continue to go forward’ with the Africa sting case.

Judge Leon granted a request from Lanny Breuer and Ronald Machen to delay the pending cases until February 21 while the DOJ decides what to do.

Two Africa sting trials of ten defendants have resulted in three acquittals and hung juries as to seven other defendants.

Twenty-two defendants were arrested after a two-and-a-half year undercover “sting” operation by the DOJ and FBI agents. All but one defendant was arrested in Las Vegas during an annual trade show for military and law enforcement equipment companies.

Prosecutors alleged that the defendants tried to bribe the defense minister of Gabon, Africa to win contracts to provide body armor, weapons, and military gear. U.S. government agents posed as officials from Gabon.

Three defendants in the case have pleaded guilty to FCPA conspiracy or substantive charges. Haim Geri, Daniel Alvirez, and Jonathan Spiller haven’t been sentenced yet.

The DOJ’s FCPA unit has suffered other trial losses in the past few months.

In January, a judge ordered the acquittal of John O’Shea, a former ABB manager in Texas, on all substantive FCPA counts he faced. The judge said the government’s primary witness knew almost nothing about the case.

In December last year, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed indictments against Keith Lindsey and Steve K. Lee, and their company Lindsey Manufacturing. The judge said prosecutors had withheld evidence and violated court orders, among other things.

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