A former executive of a Philadelphia-based export company pleaded guilty Monday to being part of a conspiracy to bribe Vietnamese government officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Joseph T. Lukas, 60, a resident of New Jersey, was a partner in Nexus Technologies Inc. until 2005. He admitted that from 1999 to 2005, he and other Nexus employees agreed to pay, and knowingly paid, bribes to Vietnamese government officials in exchange for contracts with the officials' agencies. The bribes were falsely described in the company's books as "commissions."
Lukas now faces up to 10 years in prison and a possible $350,000 fine. His sentencing is scheduled for April 6, 2010.
He was arrested in September 2008, a day after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on one count of conspiracy to bribe Vietnamese public officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and one substantive count of violating the FCPA. The indictment also charged the company and alleged co-conspirators Nam Nguyen, Kim Nguyen and An Nguyen, all U.S. citizens, with similar violations. Those cases are still pending.
According to the indictment, Nexus, a privately-held Delaware company with offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Vietnam, sold third-party underwater mapping and bomb containment equipment, helicopter parts, chemical detectors, satellite communication parts and air tracking systems to the government of Vietnam.
The indictment charged that the defendants paid at least $150,000 to officials at Vietnam’s Ministries of Transport, Industry and Public Safety to secure supply contracts. It said Nam Nguyen negotiated contracts and bribes with Vietnamese government officials while Lukas negotiated with vendors in the United States. Kim and An Nguyen allegedly arranged for the transfer of funds at Nam Nguyen’s direction.
The company's website (in English and Vietnamese) says:
Nexus specializes in supplying equipment and consulting / system integrating services for five high-growth, state-funded industries:The three other individual defendants in the case and Nexus are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
* Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
* Civil Aviation
* Marine & Sea Ports
* Other Heavy Industries
Doing business in Asia requires relationships, trust, and the time to build them. Nexus is proud to have established, through its consistent presence and reliable performance, trusted relationships with customers.
View the DOJ's June 29, 2009 release here.