A federal district court ruled Monday that Lawrence Hoskins, the British national who worked for Alstom, will have to face a trial for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related offenses.
Hoskins had moved to dismiss the indictment against him, arguing that he was denied his right to a speedy trial after his arrest in 2014.
He worked for Alstom in France as a senior vice president.
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.
Three Alstom executives pleaded guilty in the United States to bribing officials in Indonesia.
Hoskins, 69, faces trial in federal court in Connecticut, where an Alstom subsidiary implicated in bribery in Indonesia was based.
He also faces conspiracy and money laundering counts.
The government said Hoskins asked for several trial delays, in part so his lawyers could retrieve documents from GE in France, which acquired Alstom’s power business in 2015.
In ruling Monday that Hoskins must face a trial, Judge Janet Bond Arterton said “Hoskins’ failure to assert his speedy trial rights, including his repeated waiver of his speedy trial right for significant portions of the six-year period, weights heavily against him.”
Judge Arterton also said Hoskins “demonstrated only minimal prejudice suffered as a result of the delay between indictment and trial.”
Hoskins’ FCPA and related offenses allegedly occurred “most recently” in 2004 while he was part of a conspiracy that spanned from 2002 to 2009, the judge said.
The government began investigating Alstom “several years later, eventually making several requests to foreign authorities pursuant to Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties . . . which tolled that statute of limitations” for three years.
Hoskins was arrested in April 2014 when he entered the U.S. Virgin Islands. He made his first court appearance about a month later.
His trial was initially set for July 9, 2014. Less than a week before trial, Hoskins moved for a delay, “given the large volume of discovery” and “the large amount of time” that had passed since the alleged conduct.
Several more delays followed while both Hoskins and the DOJ sought documents and other evidence that was overseas.
During the delays, Judge Arterton dismissed part of the indictment, agreeing with Hoskins that a non-U.S. citizen, national, or resident couldn’t be held criminally liable for conspiring to violate or aiding and abetting a violation of the FCPA.
The Second Circuit agreed but said Hoskins could still be charged with FCPA offenses if the DOJ could show he had acted as an agent of a domestic concern. On that basis, the DOJ is going forward.
In his speedy trial motion, Hoskins said the DOJ unreasonably delayed his indictment after the investigation, and the delay caused key witnesses’ recollections to “substantially degrade.” Hoskins said his own memory had also faded and that hurt his ability to seek documents in discovery “with specificity.”
The DOJ said the delays were due mainly to “this being a complicated case” with numerous co-conspirators and alleged illegal conduct that occurred over many years. Hoskins’ earlier motions to dismiss the FCPA charges also slowed things down, the DOJ said.
Judge Arterton said in her 31-page ruling Monday that she “recognizes the anxiety associated with awaiting trial for many years.”
“But given Defendant’s failure to demonstrate with specificity any impairment to his defense linked to post-indictment delays, any prejudice Mr. Hoskins has suffered weighs only slightly in his favor.”
Jury selection in U.S. v. Hoskins is now set to start on October 16. Judge Arterton allowed Hoskins, who has posted a $2 million bond, to travel and remain outside the United States until then.
Richard L. Cassin is editor at large of the FCPA Blog.