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Alstom cooperator dodges prison at video sentencing

A former Alstom sales manager in the United States who helped the DOJ prosecute other company executives and testified at the trial of one of them was sentenced Monday to two years of supervised release.

Judge Janet Bond Arterton sentenced Larry Puckett via videoconference. She also ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.

Puckett began cooperating with the DOJ in August 2012 and in 2013 signed a formal proffer agreement. He was then living in Texas.

He entered a final plea in June 2019 when he appeared before the federal court in Connecticut, where the Alstom U.S. unit is based. He waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Prosecutors recommended a light sentence for Puckett. They said he was a “minimal participant” in the criminal activity — bribery in Indonesia — and that he cooperated extensively. He first met with prosecutors “for several hours” in D.C. in 2012 and met with them at least ten more times from 2015 to 2019.

Beginning in October last year, Puckett testified at the trial of Lawrence Hoskins. His testimony covered Hoskins’ involvement in the bribery scheme to win the Tarahan power project in Indonesia.

The jury convicted Hoskins, a former executive of Paris-based Alstom S.A., on seven FCPA counts and related money laundering counts. Judge Arterton later ruled that despite the jury’s verdict, the DOJ had failed to produce enough evidence to show that Hoskins had acted as an agent of Alstom’s Connecticut subsidiary when he allegedly arranged bribes to officials in Indonesia.

Judge Arterton let stand Hoskins’ conviction on one money laundering conspiracy count, and three substantive money laundering counts. She sentenced him in February this year to 15-months in prison for those convictions.

Alstom S.A. pleaded guilty in December 2014 to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing officials in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Bahamas. The company paid $772 million in criminal penalties to settle the charges. After the company’s FCPA resolution, General Electric bought Alstom’s power business in 2015.

Five Alstom executives including Puckett pleaded guilty in the United States for the Indonesia bribes.

Alstom’s consortium partner in Indonesia, Marubeni Corporation, pleaded guilty in 2014 to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and seven substantive FCPA offenses. The Japan-based company paid a criminal penalty of $88 million to resolve the offenses.

Earlier this year, the DOJ unsealed an indictment against three former Indonesia-based executives — two from Alstom and one from Marubeni — for their alleged roles in the Indonesia bribery. The three defendants were all charged with substantive violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well as FCPA conspiracy and money-laundering related counts.

In a filing last month with the court about Puckett’s sentencing, the DOJ said his role in the bribery scheme was “very brief and minimal, and paled in comparison to that of Hoskins.”

Prosecutors also told Judge Arterton that Puckett is “the sole provider for disabled family members.”

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