July 6, 2015 — The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a powerful weapon to stop corporations from attempting to win or retain business abroad by making bribe payments to or bestowing lavish gifts on foreign government officials or their family members. Since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 instituted a whistleblower program, anyone can collaborate with the government by notifying the Justice Department or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about foreign bribery operations. Dodd-Frank allows for substantial financial rewards to insider informants who blow the whistle on FCPA violations.
Former Bechtel Executive Participated in FCPA Violations with Contractors Seeking Unfair Bidding Advantage with Egypt’s State-Controlled Power Company
Bechtel Corporation’s former vice president has been ordered to forfeit $5.2 million in connection with a kickback scheme to influence the bidding process for contracts with a state-run power company in Egypt. In addition to making the $5.2 million forfeiture, Maryland resident Asem Elgawhary will also serve 42 months in prison.
Bechtel is a U.S. corporation with engineering and construction projects worldwide. Between 1996 and 2011, Bechtel stationed Elgawhary in Egypt as the general manager of Bechtel’s joint venture with EEHC, Egypt’s state-run electricity company. The joint venture — Power Generation Engineering and Services Company (PGESCo) — helped EEHC to contract with subcontractors for work on power projects for EEHC. In his role as the manager of that joint venture, Elgawhary received $5.2 million from three power companies hoping to gain an unfair advantage in winning EEHC contracts. One of the three companies, Alstom S.A., has already admitted to foreign bribery violations involving payments to Elgawhary in Egypt.
Elgawhary tried to hide the kickback scheme by sending the bribes through offshore bank accounts that he controlled. Elgawhary also attempted to conceal his wrongdoing by assuring Bechtel executives and the PGESCo Board of Directors that he was unaware of any FCPA violations or irregularities that PGESCo should disclose in its financial statements. Elgawhary reportedly continued his concealment efforts by making misrepresentations to Bechtel’s lawyers when they interviewed him in April 2011.
Elgawhary was arrested in 2013 when he flew into the United States and was later indicted in 2014.
Contact Us to Notify Government about FCPA Violations
While Waters & Kraus is not handling this particular FCPA case, we are representing whistleblowers in similar matters involving foreign bribery violations. If you have comparable claims against your employer or another business, contact us by email or call our qui tam attorneys at 800.226.9880to learn more about our practice and how we can collaborate with the government to redress illegal foreign bribery schemes. Our experienced qui tam lawyers, such as Anne Izzo, are working to level the playing field in international business operations.