On January 19, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that twenty-two executives working in the military and security industries were arrested and charged with conspiracy to bribe an African defense minister in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
The indictments are a result of the largest single investigation and prosecution against individual defendants in the history of DOJ's enforcement of FCPA. The indictments allege that the defendants engaged in a scheme to bribe an African defense minister and agreed to pay a 20% "sales commission" to someone they believed was the minister's representative in order to win a portion of a $15 million contract to outfit the country's presidential guard. The defense minister's representative, who in fact was an undercover FBI agent, told the defendants that the "sales commission" would be paid directly to the minister of defense.
The defendants allegedly agreed to engage in a small test deal to show the minister of defense that he would personally receive the bribe, and to create two price quotations in connection with the deal: one representing the true cost of the goods, and another representing the cost of the goods plus the 20% commission.
Each of the indictments alleges that the defendants conspired and violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and conspired to engage in money laundering.
The defendants face five years imprisonment for the conspiracy count and for each FCPA count. The indictments in this case also seek criminal forfeiture of the defendants' gains.