A Rose by any Other Name: DOJ’s FCPA Unit Brings Fraud and Money Laundering Charges Against Bechtel Executive

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The variety of charges recently brought by the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Unit against former Bechtel executive Asem Elgawhary signals that the DOJ is not only pursuing improper payments to foreign officials, but also company executives who solicit and accept improper payments. It also demonstrates the Unit’s inclination to look for other crimes to charge when FCPA violations are unavailable. Bechtel was not charged, and the indictment details how Elgawhary evaded Bechtel’s controls.

On Monday, February 10, 2014, the DOJ announced the indictment of former Bechtel Corp. executive Asem Elgawhary for mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to laundermoney, as well as violation of federal tax laws. The charges were brought by the DOJ’s FCPA Unit in coordination with the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Unit. Notably, Elgawhary has not been charged with any violation of or conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

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