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Former coal exec arrested and charged for Egypt bribes

A former coal executive was arrested and charged Thursday with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and two counts of violating the FCPA in connection with his alleged role to bribe officials at a state-owned Egyptian company.

Charles Hunter Hobson, 46, an American citizen, allegedly paid bribes to Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals officials in Egypt to obtain about $143 million in coal contracts, the DOJ said.

Hobson and a co-conspirator not named in Thursday’s indictment but identified as an Egyptian national communicated over email and WhatsApp to arrange the alleged bribes to Al Nasr officials. At one point, Hobson sent his co-conspirator the message, “[w]e should do more on this [i.e., WhatsApp] since it’s encrypted,” the DOJ said.

In another instance, the co-conspirator sent Hobson an email requesting a “consultancy fee” invoice “ASAP in order to confirm the wire.” On the same day as that email, Hobson emailed the co-conspirator a “sham consultancy services invoice” for $150,000 to support the wire transfer to Hobson’s bank account in the UAE, according to the indictment.

The company Hobson worked for at the time of the alleged violations was not named in Thursday’s indictment. According to his Linkedin profile, Hobson is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer at Knoxville-based KopperGlo Mining LLC.

According to the indictment, Al Nasr was an “instrumentality” of the Egyptian government, and its employees were “foreign officials” under the FCPA.

Hobson was also charged with one count of conspiracy to launder money, two counts of money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection to the alleged scheme.

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