On December 21, 2017, a former sales executive of Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer S.A. (“Embraer”) pled guilty to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), wire fraud, money laundering, and false-statements charges in connection with his role in an alleged bribery scheme involving Saudi Arabia’s state-controlled oil company.  According to the criminal information filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and statements made during court proceedings, British national Colin Steven orchestrated payments totaling $1.65 million from Embraer to a Saudi official in efforts to secure aircraft orders between late 2009 and early 2010.  Authorities maintain Steven devised a scheme to facilitate and conceal the improper payments from Embraer that involved the payment of sham “finders fees” to a South Africa-based company.  This company reportedly provided no services to Embraer other than serving as a conduit for the payments to the Saudi official.  Additionally, prosecutors alleged that Steven arranged to take a portion of the bribe proceeds as a kickback, ultimately receiving more than $130,000 in wire transfers from the South African company.  When interviewed by a federal agent in late 2014, Steven falsely stated these wires were for the purpose of purchasing real estate in connection with a potential business venture with an executive of the South African company.  Steven entered his plea before the Honorable Alison J. Nathan of the Southern District of New York, and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 21, 2018.  His plea follows the October 2016 execution of a deferred prosecution agreement between the DOJ and Embraer, under which Embraer agreed to pay a $107 million criminal penalty to resolve the DOJ’s investigation into alleged FCPA violations.  This agreement was part of a $205 million global resolution of investigations conducted by the DOJ, the SEC, and Brazilian authorities.  U.S. v. Steven, 17-cr-00788 (S.D.N.Y.)

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