The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) was enacted to prevent multinational corporations from attempting to gain or keep business abroad by presenting foreign government officials with bribe payments or lavish gifts. To bolster the efficacy of the FCPA, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 allows for substantial financial rewards to insider informants who blow the whistle on FCPA violations.
Defense Contractor Employees Working In Dubai Pay Penalties To Resolve FCPA Charges Involving Lavish Watches And Vacations For Saudi Arabian Officials
Two former employees who worked in the Dubai location of a U.S. military contractor are charged with committing FCPA violations for sending Saudi Arabian government officials on a 20-day round-the-world vacation in an effort to sell security cameras to the foreign government.
Yasser Ramahi and Stephen Timms worked as sales representatives for FLIR Systems Inc., an Oregon company that makes night vision, infrared and thermal imaging cameras. In November 2008, FLIR contracted with the Saudi government on a multimillion dollar order for thermal binoculars. Timms headed up FLIR’s Dubai operation and Ramahi worked for Timms.
Timms and Ramahi reportedly met with five Saudi Arabian officials in March 2009 concerning contracts for binoculars and security cameras. As an incentive to cement the deal, the officials allegedly were given costly luxury watches. As a further incentive, a few months later, Timms and Ramahi allegedly arranged for an expenses-paid vacation for several Saudi officials, which included a stop to FLIR’s factory in Boston in the midst of pure leisure travel to New York City, Paris and Casablanca, as well as other destinations.
Timms and Ramahi knew that the FCPA prohibited gifts to foreign officials and when the company finance department questioned the expenditures, the salesmen allegedly created phony invoices and documentation to support their claims that there had been some sort of mistake concerning the watches and the vacation. To settle charges by the SEC, Ramahi and Timms consented to pay financial penalties but did not admit to any wrongdoing.
Whistleblowers 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, email us or call our qui tam attorneys at 855.784.0268 to learn more about our practice and how we can collaborate with the government to redress illegal foreign bribery schemes. Our experienced lawyers, such as Loren Jacobson and Caitlyn Silhan in the firm’s Texas office, are working to level the playing field in international business operations.