Tesler No Longer Fighting Extradition; Faces Federal Criminal Charges in U.S.

February 22, 2011

A British solicitor is abandoning his battle against extradition and flying to the United States to face corruption charges, his legal advisers have announced.

Jeffrey Tesler, 62, is accused of involvement in a conspiracy to bribe senior officials in Nigeria. His solicitors say he will leave the U.K. within 28 days, but that is just an estimation. Tesler may take longer before heading to the U.S.

Tesler, who has dual British-Israeli nationality, fought a long legal campaign to avoid extradition.

Last month the High Court in London ruled he could be extradited. They said there was a sufficient American connection to justify his removal for trial.

His lawyers argued extradition should be blocked because the case also had “strong links” to the U.K., and British prosecutors were carrying out their own investigation.

Tesler, who has lived in Tottenham, north London, for more than 50 years, was due to make a last-ditch application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. But last Wednesday, Tesler withdrew his appeal.

Tesler and another U.K. citizen were indicted on Feb. 17 last year by a federal grand jury in Houston, accused of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It seems unreasonable for the U.S. government to hold a U.K. citizen criminally liable for violations of a U.S. law, but as long as the U.S. government can prove sufficient ties to the U.S. arising from the alleged criminal conduct, Tesler’s charges will stand.

The case is part of an investigation into Houston-based KBR over claims it bribed officials to win contracts to build a liquefied-natural gas project in Nigeria. In February 2009, KBR agreed with former parent company Halliburton to pay $579 million to resolve U.S. criminal and regulatory charges related to the Nigeria project.

Tesler has been accused of being hired as the agent of a four-company joint venture, to bribe Nigerian officials out of a U.S. $132 million slush fund. The alleged bribes went towards securing U.S. $6 billion worth of contracts on behalf of the Nigerian government, to build and expand the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas terminal.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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British Attorney Loses Appeal; Extradition to U.S. Underway

January 20, 2011

An attorney from north London will be extradited to the United States to face corruption charges following a ruling today by the High Court in London.

A London court previously granted the U.S. extradition request, but Tesler appealed the decision.

Jeffrey Tesler, 62, is accused by the American authorities of involvement in an international conspiracy to channel bribes to senior officials in Nigeria.

It is alleged that bribes were paid from a $132 million dollar slush fund to influence the awarding of a $6 billion dollar construction contract for a natural gas plant on Bonny Island in Nigeria.

Tesler, who has lived in north London for over 50 years, is accused of acting as the middleman in the conspiracy, said to have occurred between 1994 and 2004.

He was arrested at the request of the U.S. government after a grand jury indictment was filed at a U.S. district court in Houston, Texas, in February 2009.

The charges fall under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which aims to prevent the bribery of foreign officials regarding international business transactions. However, there must be sufficient evidence that proves a link to the United States in order to hold Tesler accountable under the FCPA.

Britain is set to introduce their version of the FCPA this April, known as the Bribery Act. Critics and businesses believe the Bribery Act will impose significant regulations on business practices in the U.K., more so than the FCPA. It will be interesting to follow the enforcement of the Act once it takes effect in April and to what effect it will have on business dealings with the U.S.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Italian Executive Extradited from Germany to the US; Faces Foreign Bribery Charges

July 12, 2010

Italian citizen Flavio Ricotti, a former executive of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based valve company Control Components Inc. (CCI), has been extradited to the United States from Germany in connection with his alleged participation in a conspiracy to secure contracts by paying bribes to officials of foreign state-owned companies as well as officers and employees of foreign and domestic private companies. Ricotti, 49, of Bientina, Italy, was arrested on Feb. 14, 2010, in Frankfurt, Germany, and arrived in the United States on July 2, 2010.

Ricotti and five other former executives of CCI were charged on April 8, 2009, in a 16-count indictment for their alleged roles in the foreign bribery scheme. According to the indictment, Ricotti, who served as CCI’s vice president and head of sales for Europe, Africa and the Middle East from 2001 through 2007, allegedly caused CCI employees and agents to make payments totaling approximately $750,000 to officers and employees of state-owned companies, and payments totaling approximately $380,000 to officers and employees of private companies. Allegedly, these payments occurred in connection with CCI projects in various countries around the world, including in the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, India and Qatar. According to court documents, the valve company designs and manufactures service control valves for use in the nuclear, oil and gas, and power generation industries worldwide.

The other five former CCI executives also charged are Stuart Carson, CCI’s former chief executive officer; Hong (Rose) Carson, CCI’s former director of sales for China and Taiwan; Paul Cosgrove, CCI’s former director of worldwide sales; David Edmonds, CCI’s former vice president of worldwide customer service; and Han Yong Kim, the former president of CCI’s Korean office. Trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 2, 2010.

Ricotti is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and the Travel Act, one count of violating the FCPA, and three counts of violating the Travel Act. The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost. The FCPA count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $100,000 or twice the value gained or lost. The Travel Act counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss.

An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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