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U.S. v. Christian Sapsizian and Edgar Valverde Acosta

 
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Alcatel - Sapsizian, Christian
:
DOJ Criminal
:
December 1, 2006
:
U.S. v. Christian Sapsizian and Edgar Valverde Acosta
:
U.S. v. Sapsizian, No. 1:06-cr-20797-PAS-ALL (S.D. Fl. 2007)
:
This is an important example of the U.S. asserting jurisdiction over foreign individuals using the territorial jurisdiction provisions in the 1998 amendments to the FCPA. The defendant, a French national working for a French company in Paris, was arrested while in transit through the United States.
:
Telecommunications-Mobile
:
Costa Rica
:
2000; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2004
:
Director of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the state-owned telecommunications authority of Costa Rica, who was also an advisor to a senior government official, and who also shared the payments with that official.
:
Christian Sapsizian violated the FCPA by arranging and making bribes of the Director of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) and a Senior Costa Rican government official.

Sapsizian worked as the Assistant to the Vice President of the Latin American Region for Alcatel, Inc., a French telecommunications company. Alcatel had wholly-owned subsidiaries operating in Costa Rica. In 2000, Alcatel began lobbying ICE to install a mobile-based telephone network. While pursuing this contract, Sapsizian met with a Senior ICE official and Edgar Valverde Acosta, the CEO of the wholly-owned Alcatel subsidiary, Alcatel de Costa Rica, and the Country Senior Officer of Central America for Alcatel. Alcatel had previously offered the ICE official a bribe in exchange for awarding Alcatel the mobile telephone contract. The ICE official asked for an increase in the bribe amount and said he planned to give the additional funds to a Senior Government Official who would also help award the contract to Alcatel.

From 2000 to 2003 Sapsizian obtained approval for consulting contracts with Servicios Notariales ("Servicios"), an Alcatel consulting firm. Servicios would send invoices to Alcatel related to these contracts, which Sapsizian would approve personally. Alcatel would transfer the money from its U.S. bank accounts to Servicios's accounts in Costa Rica. Acosta would then instruct Servicios to make payments to the official.

Sapsizian recorded these payments improperly as payments for consulting services rendered by Servicios. As a result of these payments, Alcatel received two contracts from ICE, together worth $250 million.

Sapsizian was indicted on two counts of violating the FCPA, to which he pleaded guilty. ï � �Sapsizian admitted that between February 2000 and September 2004, he conspired with Edgar Valverde Acosta, a Costa Rican citizen who was Alcatel’s senior country officer in Costa Rica, and others to make more than $2.5 million in bribe payments to Costa Rican officials to obtain a telecommunications contract on behalf of Alcatel.

He was sentenced on September 23, 2008 to 30 months in prison.
:
Anti-bribery (Issuer)
:
Fine, Imprisonment, Plea
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As part of his plea, Sapsizian agreed to forfeit $261,500 to the U.S.
:
261,500
:
30
:
Employee of Issuer
:
Country Sales
:
Foreign
:
Contract Procurement/Retention
:
250,000,000
:
Wire/check
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Sales Agent/Consultant
:
2,560,000
:
Costa Rica
:
United States
:
The jurisdictional fact was the existence and use of a U.S. bank account in an otherwise non-U.S. transaction. This provided a jurisdictional basis for criminal prosecution of a non-U.S. person working for a non-U.S. company working outside of the U.S. and paying a bribe to a non-U.S. official.
:
No
:
Costa Rica, France