Guilty Plea in First FCPA Case Involving Vietnam
In the first Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) involving Vietnam, the Justice Department announced yesterday that Joseph T. Lukas, a former executive of Philadelphia-based Nexus Technologies Inc. pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one count of violating the FCPA in connection with his role in a scheme to pay bribes to Government of Vietnam officials in exchange for contracts to supply equipment and technology to Vietnamese government agencies.
Mr. Lukas was arrested on September 5, 2008, after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia. Also indicted in this case was Nexus Technologies and three alleged co-conspirators. Cases are still pending against the remaining defendants and the company.
Nexus Technologies Inc. is a Delaware company with offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Vietnam that allegedly purchased a wide variety of equipment and technology, including underwater mapping equipment, bomb containment equipment, helicopter parts, chemical detectors, satellite communication parts and air tracking systems, for export to agencies of the government of Vietnam. The indictment alleged that from approximately 1999 through 2008, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to pay Vietnamese government officials bribes in order to secure lucrative contracts. Over the course of the scheme, the defendants are alleged to have paid at least $150,000 in bribes to foreign officials in Vietnam. The customers in Vietnam are alleged to have included the commercial branches of Vietnam's Ministries of Transport, Industry and Public Safety.
In connection with his guilty plea, Mr. Lukas admitted that from 1999 to 2005, he and other employees of Nexus Technologies Inc. agreed to pay, and knowingly paid, bribes to Vietnamese government officials in exchange for contracts with the agencies for which the officials worked. The bribes were falsely described as "commissions" in the company’s records.
Mr. Lukas faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in prison and a $350,000 fine when he is sentenced in April 2010.