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SFO charges former sales director in seismology bribery case

The UK Serious Fraud Office filed charges Friday against a third former executive of Güralp Systems Limited.

Heather Pearce, the former sales director, was charged with conspiracy to bribe a foreign official.

Güralp Systems, based in Reading, UK, makes seismic testing equipment.

In August, the SFO charged Güralp's founder and another top executive with bribing officials at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM).

Dr. Cansun Guralp and managing director Andrew Bell were charged with conspiring to make corrupt payments to a public official.

In the United States last year, KIGAM's former director was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison.

Heon-Cheol Chi was jailed for using a Southern California bank account to launder bribes he received from two unnamed seismological companies.

Chi is appealing his conviction to the Ninth Circuit.

The Justice Department said in August it won't prosecute Güralp Systems for possible FCPA and money-laundering violations.

The DOJ said the company made a "voluntary disclosure of the misconduct" and undertook "significant remedial efforts."

It also said GSL is "the subject of an ongoing parallel investigation" by the UK SFO "for violations of law relating to the same conduct."

In May this year, the DOJ said it would try to avoid piling on when companies face possible prosecution from multiple enforcement agencies.

The SFO started the Güralp investigation in December 2015 but didn't disclose it until August.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.