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Harry Cassin
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DAP’s Clarke sentenced to two years for Bandes bribes

Tomas Clarke, a former senior vice president at New York-based Direct Access Partners who worked in the firm’s Miami office, was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday for his role in bribing a Venezuela bank official.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan also ordered Clarke to forfeit nearly $5.8 million.

Clarke, 46, was one of five former executives and employees at the brokerage firm to plead guilty in the case.

On Friday, Ernesto Lujan, 52, a former managing partner of Direct Access Partners in charge of its Miami office, was also sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to forfeit $18.5 million. He pleaded guilty in mid 2013 to conspiracy, money laundering, and violating the FCPA.

In March, DAP’s former CEO and its managing director were each sentenced to four years in prison. Benito Chinea, 48, and Joseph DeMeneses, 45, pleaded guilty in December last year to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Travel Act. Chinea forfeited $3.6 and DeMeneses forfeited nearly $2.7.

Another Direct Access employee, Jose Alejandro Hurtado, pleaded guilty in 2013. He hasn’t been sentenced yet.

The defendants paid at least $5 million in bribes to María de los Ángeles González de Hernandez, a vice president at state-owned Banco de Desarrollo Economico y Social de Venezuela (Bandes).

In return for bribes from 2008 to 2012, González directed bond trading work to Direct Access Partners and approved fraudulent round-trip trades.

She pleaded guilty in late 2013 to conspiracy to violate the Travel Act and commit money laundering, as well as two substantive counts of the offenses.

Direct Access Partners, an SEC registered broker-dealer, generated more than $60 million in revenue from the  Bandes trading business.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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