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FCPA Blog Daily News

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Monday
Apr162018

Feds seek 40-month FCPA sentence for Florida telecoms chief

A Florida businessman who cooperated with the DOJ after pleading guilty to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act now faces more than three years in prison.

Lawrence W. Parker Jr. owned or controlled five Florida-based telecommunications companies.

He was charged in a one-count criminal information (pdf) on December 20 with conspiracy to violate the FCPA and commit wire fraud. He pleaded guilty on December 28.

His case was under seal until this month.

Parker admitted (pdf) to being part of wider conspiracy to bribe an Aruban official in exchange for telecommunications contracts.

Egbert Yvan Ferdinand Koolman, 49, a Dutch citizen living in Miami, Florida was the product manager of the government-owned Servicio di Telecommunicacion di Aruba NV, or Setar.

Koolman admitted in a plea Friday that he took $1.3 million in bribes over about ten years. He used his position to award mobile phone and accessory contracts.

He pleaded guilty to a money-laundering conspiracy. He's scheduled to be sentenced on June 27.

When Parker pleaded guilty in December, he admitted conspiring to pay more than $700,000 in bribes to an official at Setar identified then as “Foreign Official A.”

Parker's companies won almost $24 million in mobile-phone orders from Setar.

In the charging document (pdf) Parker pleaded guilty to, the DOJ said

Setar was controlled by the government of Aruba and performed a function that Aruba treated as its own, and was thus an instrumentality of the Aruban government as that term is used in the Foreign Corupt Practices Act ("FCPA"), Title 15, United States Code, Section 78dd-2(h)(2)(A).

Parker paid some of the bribes directly to Koolman and some to Koolman's ex-wife, the DOJ said.

According to the Miami Herald, Koolman was exposed in 2016 when the Panama Papers revealed his ownership of several offshore companies.

Setar fired him after the Panama Papers revelations.

Parker paid the bribes by wire transfers from U.S.-based banks, in cash during meetings in Miami and Aruba, and by withdrawing money in Aruba through a bank card connected to a U.S. account., according to the DOJ.

Parker is scheduled to be sentenced April 30.

Prosecutors Thursday asked for a sentence reduction (pdf) from 60 months to 40 months, based on Parker's cooperation.

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