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« More Disclosure, Less Graft | Main | Jefferson On Trial, Soon »
Thursday
Jun042009

Defense Contractor, Ex-Exec Settle Charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission last week filed settled enforcement actions against United Industrial Corporation (UIC), an aerospace and defense systems contractor, and Thomas Wurzel, the former President of UIC's one-time subsidiary, ACL Technologies, Inc.

Wurzel agreed to pay a $35,000 civil penalty; UIC will pay $337,679.42 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest.

The SEC said Wurzel authorized illegal payments to Egyptian Air Force officials through an agent in return for business related to a military aircraft depot in Cairo. The bribes helped UIC's subsidiary ACL win a $5.3 mllion contract with profits of about $267,000. The illegal payments were covered up in ACL's books through false invoices and payments for “equipment and materials” and “marketing services.”

Wurzel and UIC were charged with violating the anti-bribery, books and records and internal controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; Wurzel also faced aiding and abetting violations. Both defendants also agreed to cease and desist orders.

The SEC said it had jurisdiction because UIC's common shares were listed on the New York Stock Exchange when the offenses occurred in 2001 and 2002. Textron acquired UIC in December 2007.

The Justice Department hasn't announced any criminal enforcement actions against UIC or Wurzel.

The SEC's Litigation Release No. 21063 and Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release No. 2980, dated May 29, 2009, in Securities and Commission v. Thomas Wurzel, Civil Action No. 09-Civ-01005 (RWR), United States District Court for the District of Columbia, can be viewed here.

A copy of the SEC's cease and desist order against UIC can be downloaded here.

A copy of the SEC's complaint against Thomas Wurzel can be downloaded here.

* * *
From Frederic Bourke's trial. Day four testimony by the government's witness Thomas Farrell, an American living in Russia who helped Kozeny with logistics. He recounted a meeting he, Kozeny and a Chechen had with Ilham Aliyev, then vice president of the state oil company, and Barat Nuriyev, the state property committee's deputy chairman:

“Nuriyev
made very clear very quickly that him and his boss were representing the president of Azerbaijan,” who was then Heidar Aliyev, Farrell testified. “He said it: ‘The family.’ And he also pointed over his shoulder. There was a portrait of the president.” . . . Kozeny offered to give Azeri leaders half the profits after he bought the state oil company at a steep discount and resold it to Westerners for billions of dollars. At a later meeting, Nuriyev demanded two-thirds of Kozeny’s profits from the sale of the oil company, known as Socar, Farrell said.

Bourke didn’t invest with Kozeny until months after the meeting with Nuriyev and denies knowing about the bribery scheme. He says Kozeny stole his $8 million investment.

Selective prosecution? Bourke’s defense lawyer Harold Haddon cross examined John Pulley, Kozeny’s security chief. Pulley admitted investing $410,000 with Kozeny. He wired money to Kozeny’s lawyer, Hans Bodmer, who routed his funds through a shell company Bodmer set up in the British Virgin Islands, just like Bourke. And Pulley, like Bourke, said he didn't know about the bribes. Pulley hasn't been charged in the case.

Read David Glovin's full report from the courtroom on the Bloomberg news wire here.

Read all our posts about U.S. v. Kozeny and the prosecution of Frederic Bourke here.
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