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Former Embraer sales exec avoids prison in Aramco bribes case

Colin Steven blew the whistle on himselfA former sales executive of Embraer SA was sentenced Wednesday to time served and fined $25,000 for paying a bribe to help sell jets to the giant oil company, Saudi Aramco.

Colin Steven, 62, a UK citizen living in Dubai, had pleaded guilty in December 2017.

The DOJ said in court filings and at Wednesday’s hearing in federal court in New York City that Steven provided significant cooperation in the case.

He was charged with three counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, wire fraud, and money laundering, three counts of conspiracy, and one count of making a false statement.

His former employer, Brazil-based aircraft maker Embraer SA, paid $205 million to the DOJ and SEC in October 2016 to resolve FCPA violations. Embraer admitted bribing officials in Saudi Arabia, the Dominican Republic, and Mozambique.

Steven was a vice president of sales and marketing in Embraer’s Executive Jets Division.

In early 2010, Saudi Aramco awarded Embraer a $93 million contract for three new aircraft.

Steven arranged a $1.5 million bribe to a Saudi official for help with the sale. He also took a kickback of $130,000 from the bribe.

Steven self reported the bribe inside Embraer in 2013. His information triggered the company’s internal investigation. In 2014, Embraer disclosed FCPA issues in several countries to the DOJ.

Steven didn’t at first admit to Embraer or the DOJ that he took a kickback.

He agreed to forfeit about $174,000 as part of his deal with prosecutors.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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