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In the Matter of Walid Hatoum

 
:
Hatoum, Walid
:
SEC Civil
:
February 2, 2015
:
In the Matter of Walid Hatoum
:
In the Matter of Walid Hatoum, Admin. Pro. File No. 3-16352 (2015)
:
The enforcement action is part of a trend of SEC cases exhibiting the use of administrative proceedings against individual defendants.
:
Engineering Services
:
Qatar
:
2008; 2009
:
Director of International Projects at Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company.
:
Walid Hatoum is a former employee and President of PBS&J International, Inc. (“PBS&J Int’l’) an engineering and general contractor providing services in international markets, including the Middle East. PBS&J international was a wholly owned subsidiary of PBSJ Corporation (“PBSJ”), an engineering and construction firm based in Tampa, Florida.

In 2009, PBS&J Int’l won a pair of multi-million dollar development project contracts in Qatar and Morocco. Both projects were solicited through a competitive bidding process with the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company—an agency of the Qatari government to development real estate investments.

Hatoum allegedly arranged for PBS&J Int’l to bid on the two Qatari Diar projects by partnering with a local subcontractor (“Local Partner”) in charge of managing the project’s local operations. The SEC explains that, unbeknownst to PBSJ, the Local Partner was owned and controlled by the Director of the Qatari Diar (“Foreign Official”). According to the SEC, as part of the arrangement, Hatoum planned to use the Local Partner as a conduit to funnel bribes to the Foreign Official, agreeing to share 40% of the project profits with the Local Partner and to pay the partner “agency fees” for the successful tenders. Additionally, PBS&J agreed to pay half of the salary of the Foreign Official’s wife, who worked for the Local Partner. In exchange, the Foreign Official allegedly provided PBS&J Int’l confidential bid information to assist PBS&J Int’l win both contracts.

In addition to allegations concerning Hatoum’s illicit payments to the Foreign Official, the SEC also claims that as a result of the illicit payments Hatoum caused PBSJ to inaccurately maintain its books-and-records as well fail to maintain adequate Internal Controls.

On January 22, 2014, Hatoum settled charges against him by the SEC in a cease-and-desist order, agreeing to pay a $50,000 civil penalty.

On the same day, the SEC announced that it entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with WS Atkins, the corporate parent of PBSJ. In the agreement, Atkins, on behalf of PBSJ, agreed to pay a total sanction of $3,407,875.
:
Anti-bribery (Domestic Concern), Books and records (Individual), Internal Controls (Individual)
:
Cease and Desist
:
Hatoum was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $50,000.
:
50,000
:
0
:
Domestic Concern, Employee of Issuer
:
Director, President
:
U.S.
:
United States
:
Contract Procurement/Retention
:
Not stated.
:
Cash
:
1,390,000
:
Qatar
:
No
:
Yes