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Alstom fallout: No jail for sick Bahamas bribe taker

A former director of the the Bahamas Electricity Corporation who took more than $220,000 in bribes from Alstom is too sick to face prison, a judge ruled Friday.

Fred Ramsey, 79, was convicted by a Bahamas jury in May of taking $221,457 to influence the award of a contract for generators to Alstom Espana SA.

Ramsey, an insurance executive, could have been jailed up to four years.

He had a stroke in March 2015. A consulting neurologist said Ramsey has hypertension and jail could cause further strokes, a heart attack, or death.

In December 2014, Paris-based Alstom pleaded guilty in federal court in Connecticut to bribing officials in the Bahamas, and in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

The company paid $772 million in criminal penalties to settle the charges — the biggest criminal fine ever levied for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses and the second biggest FCPA enforcement action overall.

Three Alstom executives have pleaded guilty in the United States to bribing officials in Indonesia to win a power project contract.

In the UK, the Serious Fraud Office has charged seven individuals and Alstom Network UK Ltd with bribery-related offenses.

Alstom manufactures rail, power, and energy equipment. In June 2014, Alstom agreed to sell its power business to General Electric for about $15 billion.

In the Bahamas trial, the government’s chief witness against Ramsey was Mark Smith, an American consultant. Smith was granted immunity in the Bahamas prosecution.

He produced records showing checks that he had made out to Ramsey and deposited to his Florida account.

Bahamas Electricity Corporation is a government-owned company.

On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Bernard Turner ordered Ramsey to return the “unjust enrichment” of his bribe payments to BEC within nine months, Caribbean News Now said.

The judge said he’ll jail Ramsey for six months if he doesn’t pay the money.

The judge also imposed a criminal fine of $14,000. If Ramsey doesn’t pay it within two months, he’ll have to serve an additional six-months in jail.

The jury convicted Ramsey on May 3 of 12 counts of bribery and two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery.

At a sentencing hearing, Ramsey’s lawyer said his client had suffered public humiliation, forfeited his insurance licence, and had his U.S. visa revoked by the State Department.

The judge said Friday, “His own humiliation is well-deserved — a sentence self-imposed,” according to Caribbean News Now.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He’ll be the keynote speaker at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016.

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