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Ex-Alstom exec wants ‘delayed’ FCPA case tossed

A former Alstom executive arrested in 2014 for FCPA and related offenses has asked a federal judge to dismiss the charges against him because the DOJ has denied his right to a speedy trial.

Lawrence Hoskins, a British national who worked for Alstom in France as a senior vice president, accused the DOJ of slow walking document requests and dumping documents on his lawyers right before trial.

The government said Hoskins asked for several of the delays in the trial schedule, in part so his lawyers could retrieve documents from GE in France, which acquired Alstom’s power business in 2015.

Hoskins’ trial is supposed to start next month in federal court in Connecticut. An Alstom subsidiary implicated in bribery in Indonesia was based there.

Alstom SA pleaded guilty in December 2014 to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing officials in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Bahamas.

It paid the DOJ $772 million in criminal penalties to settle charges that it violated the FCPA by falsifying its books and records and failing to implement adequate internal controls.

Three Alstom executives pleaded guilty in the United States to bribing officials in Indonesia.

Hoskins has argued that he never came to the United States and wasn’t subject to the FCPA.

In August 2015, the district court dismissed part of the indictment against him, holding that he couldn’t be held criminally liable for conspiring to violate or aiding and abetting a violation of the FCPA.

In mostly affirming the dismissal, the Second Circuit said because Hoskins was never a U.S. citizen, national, or resident, and wasn’t accused of having acted in furtherance of the bribery scheme while in the United States, he could only be charged as an agent of a domestic concern.

The DOJ is still pursuing FCPA charges based on the factual issue of whether Hoskins was an agent of a domestic concern.

Hoskins, 69, also faces conspiracy and substantive money laundering counts.

For the FCPA, he’s arguing that he wasn’t an agent of Alstom’s U.S. subsidiary because the company had retained consultants who were in fact agents, and it was the consultants who helped pay the Indonesia bribes.

The DOJ said both the consultants and Hoskins could be agents for purposes of the FCPA.

Prosecutors have asked for a jury instruction similar to that given last year in United States v. Ho, another FCPA case that went to trial in New York:

An agent is a person who by express or implicit agreement with another person or entity, called the principal, undertakes to represent, or to act on behalf of, the principal in performing some service for the principal. Joint participation in a partnership or joint venture, whether formal or informal, suffices to make each partner or joint venturer an agent of the other.

An agent is acting within the scope of the agent’s authority if the agent is engaged in the performance of duties that were expressly or implicitly assigned to the agent by the principal.

Proof of agency need not be in the form of a formal agreement between the agent and the principal. Rather, it may be inferred circumstantially and from the words and actions of the parties involved.

Judge Janet Arterton is still considering Hoskins’ motion to dismiss for speedy trial reasons, and how to instruct the jury about the meaning of the word “agent” in the FCPA.


Richard L. Cassin is editor at large of the FCPA Blog.

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