An Ottawa judge sentenced a former security systems executive to three years in prison Friday, the first prison term for an individual convicted under Canada’s anti-bribery law.
Nazir Karigar was jailed for his role in a conspiracy that tried — but failed — to land a $100-million contract to provide security for Air India.
He was found guilty last August for his role in a plan to bribe Indian officials, including a government minister.
Prosecutors said Karigar approached the Ottawa office of CryptoMetrics in 2005 with an offer to help obtain a contract to supply Air India with a security system. He was later named executive director of the company’s Indian subsidiary.
He faced up to 5 years in prison for the conviction.
Prosecutors could not demonstrate during the trial that any of the money had actually changed hands, and CryptoMetrics was not ultimately awarded the contract.
But Justice Charles Hackland of the Ontario Superior Court ruled there was enough evidence that Karigar and others at CryptoMetrics intended to make the payments.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud told reporters: “We didn’t have to demonstrate that there was an exchange of money to pay the bribe.”
He said Canadian investigators instead relied on emails and letters to prove the conspiracy.
“Just an intent to pay a bribe was sufficient to convince the court that there was a criminal act that was committed,” Michaud said.
Prosecutors wanted a long prison term as a deterrent to others.
But when he imposed the three-year sentence, the judge said he considered Karigar’s cooperation, age (66), and the failure of bribery scheme.
Karigar was the first individual convicted under Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.
The 1999 law makes it an offense to directly or indirectly give or offer a loan, reward, advantage, or benefit of any kind to a foreign public official to obtain or retain an advantage in the course of business.
Three companies have been convicted under the law during the past decade. Each pleaded guilty and paid a fine.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.
This is an important case for Canada, it was the first Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act ("CFPOA") trial, and as you have noted, Mr. Karigar is the first individual to be charged and convicted under the law. There are seven more individuals awaiting trial in the SNC Lavalin case and so the next few years will add to the tally.
Karigar was arrested and charged before the 2013 changes to the CFPOA came into effect and so the maximum sentence he was facing was the original 5 years and not the 14 years that is now the maximum. In Canada and elsewhere, such legislative changes are not retroactive.
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