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Judge delays Lewis sentencing to April

Clayton Lewis, the hedge fund partner who invested and lost $126 million in Viktor Kozeny’s Azeri privatization scheme, won’t be sentenced until at least April, according to an order issued this month by the judge hearing his case.

Lewis was arrested in 2003 and two years later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

Prosecutors said he knew Kozeny planned to pay bribes but went ahead with the investment anyway.

He faces up to five years in prison.

He was scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in New York City on February 27 by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

The DOJ didn’t oppose Lewis’ request to delay the sentencing. Judge Buckwald signed the order to reset the date two weeks ago.

Lewis’ lawyer, Gerald Krovatin, said the sentencing shouldn’t happen until two other defendants who pleaded guilty in the case are sentenced by another judge.

Hans Bodmer, Kozeny’s Swiss lawyer, faces sentencing on March 6.

And Thomas Farrell, described as a middleman between Kozeny and his co-conspirators, is being sentenced March 4.

Judge Shira Scheindlin is presiding over their cases.

She was also the judge in Frederic Bourke’s trial. A jury convicted Bourke of an FCPA conpiracy. Judge Scheindlin sentenced him to a year and day in prison and levied a million dollar fine.

Lewis’ lawyer said it would be helpful for Judge Buchwald to know the sentences Judge Scheindlin will impose on Bodmer and Farrell before Lewis is sentenced.

‘Having tried the Bourke case, Krovatin said, ‘Judge Scheindlin is familiar with the history of Mr. Kozeny’s complex dealings in Azerbaijan and the roles the various defendants played in the criminal conduct that surrounded those dealings.’

Bodmer and Farrell testified against Bourke at his trial. Lewis had agreed to testify but prosecutors didn’t call him.

Knowing the other sentences, Krovatin said, would also make it possible ‘to compare the offense of Mr. Lewis to that of Messrs. Bodmer and Farrell and to argue the appropriate relativity of their respective sentences.’

Kozeny himself has never faced trial for his failed Azeri scheme.

In Krovatin’s letter this month to Judge Buchwald, he said:

Ironically, Mr. Kozeny, the creator and principal beneficiary of the corrupt scheme, has escaped all accountability and punishment. He was indicted by a U.S. grand jury and became a fugitive. He ultimately fled to the Bahamas, where the [U.S.] Government’s efforts to extradite him were unsuccessful. Last year, the Queen’s Privy Council, the highest appellate court in the United Kingdom, affirmed the refusal of the Bahamanian government to extradite Mr. Kozeny to the United States.

Bourke, the co-founder of luxury handbag brand Dooney & Bourke, has lost two appeals of his 2009 conviction.

When Judge Scheindlin sentenced Bourke, she said he was at least partly a victim of Kozeny’s scheme, and she considered that in his sentencing.

She also released Bourke on bail pending the outcome of all his appeals.

View and download a copy of Gerald Krovatin’s letter endorsed by Judge Naomi Reice Buckwald.

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