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Another Indictment In Panama Bribes Case

A Virginia man yesterday became the second person charged with bribing former Panamanian government officials in exchange for maritime contracts. John W. Warwick, 63, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Richmond for conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He allegedly plotted with others to pay foreign officials to obtain business for Ports Engineering Consultants Corporation (PECC). The company was a Panama affiliate of Overman Associates, a Virginia Beach engineering firm.

Last month in the same case, Charles Paul Edward Jumet, 53, pleaded guilty to a two-count criminal information. He admitted conspiring to violate the FCPA by making corrupt payments to government officials in Panama on behalf of PECC and giving a false statement to the FBI about how he paid some of the bribe money. He's scheduled to be sentenced on February 12, 2010. See our post here.

Warwick's indictment alleges that he, Jumet and others conspired to make corrupt payments totaling more than $200,000 to the former administrator and deputy administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority and to "a former, high-ranking elected executive official" of Panama. In December 1997, Panama awarded PECC a no-bid, 20-year contract to maintain lighthouses and buoys. Warwick was the company's former president.

If convicted, Warwick faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss. The indictment seeks forfeiture of the proceeds Warwick and Overman Associates received from PECC's Panama contracts.

As the DOJ says, an indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

View the Justice Department's December 16, 2009 release here.

Download a copy of the December 15, 2009 indictment in U.S. v. Warwick here.

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