Search

Editors

Richard L. Cassin Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman Senior Editor

Elizabeth K. Spahn Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn Contributing Editor

Bill Waite Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong Contributing Editor 

Eric Carlson Contributing Editor

Bill Steinman Contributing Editor

Aarti Maharaj Contributing Editor


Connect
FCPA Blog Daily News

Entries in Paul Novak (10)

Tuesday
Dec102013

Germany's Bilfinger in $32 million settlement for Nigeria bribes

Mannheim, Germany-based Bilfinger SE, an engineering and services company in the energy sector, agreed to pay a $32 million penalty to resolve charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by bribing government officials in Nigeria.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul012013

Enforcement Report for Q2 '13

It was blockbuster quarter for FCPA enforcement, and April was one of the busiest months on record.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May062013

Novak jailed in Willbros case

A former consultant for pipeline contractor Willbros International Inc. was sentenced Friday for his role in a scheme to pay more than $6 million in bribes to government and political party officials in Nigeria.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr192012

Willbros Wins Final Dismissal

Willbros Group, Inc. said in an SEC filing that the FCPA charges against it were formally dismissed this month.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug192010

Tillery's 'Extraction'

A report this week from Nigeria said FCPA fugitive James "Ken" Tillery has been seized by the FBI in Lagos and is being held by American authorities. But another report on Wednesday said the Nigerian high court had halted the extradition at least until the end of the month because due process wasn't followed.

Tillery, 51, was the managing director of Willbros in Nigeria. He was indicted in 2008 along with Willbros' consultant Paul G. Novak. They were charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, two counts of violating the FCPA in connection with the authorization of specific corrupt payments to officials in Nigeria and Ecuador, and one count of conspiring to launder the bribe payments through companies controlled by Novak.

Novak, 43, pleaded guilty in November 2009 to paying $6 million in bribes to officials who worked in the Nigerian government, in government-owned companies, and in a political party there. He hasn't been sentenced.

Tillery has been at large since his indictment. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 35 years in prison.

One report from Nigeria said the next hearing on Tillery's extradition will be on August 30.

In May 2008, Willbros Group Inc. and Willbros International Inc. entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay a $22 million criminal penalty for the illegal payments to government officials in Nigeria and Ecuador. 

In January this year, two former Willbros executives were jailed for bribery. Jim Bob Brown, 48, was sentenced in federal court in Houston to one year and one day in prison and fined $17,500; Jason Edward Steph, 40, was sentenced to 15 months and fined $2,000. Brown had pleaded guilty in 2006 and Steph in 2007.

An African press report said Tillery is "an American by birth, who had since naturalized as a Nigerian." It  said normal extradition procedures weren't followed and characterized Tillery's arrest as an "extraction" and a "forceful extradition."

The U.S. Justice Department hasn't publicly commented.

Tuesday
May112010

The Hard Timers

Compliance officers will want to keep a copy of the table below close at hand. What better way to answer those who insist that the FCPA is small potatoes, after all, when you look at the relatively few enforcement actions over the past 33 years.

Here are the 22 men (no women so far), most of them former company executives, who've spent time in prison for FCPA-related convictions. Each name that follows represents a terrible tragedy, often with permanent damage extending to families. As the compiler of the list said: "By my count there have been 187 people charged with violating the FCPA. This list will look a little different at the end of the year."

We'd like to thank the generous individual responsible for this post, but that's not possible. He or she has asked to remain anonymous, making this contribution pro bono publico.

The information is compiled from the Federal Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator. Readers with suggestions and corrections are welcome to let us know.

 

Name

Related Company

Register #

Age Race Sex

Release Date

Location

FERNANDO MAYA BASURTO

ABB Ltd

39135-177

48-White-M

UNKNOWN

HOUSTON FDC

CHARLES PAUL EDWARD JUMET

Ports Engineering Consultants Corporation

75638-083

53-White-M

UNKNOWN

NOT IN BOP CUSTODY

SULEIMAN A NASSAR

Lockheed

45723-019

73-White-M

11/19/1996

RELEASED

DAVID H MEAD

Saybolt

79529-079

72-White-M

7/21/1999

RELEASED

HERBERT STEINDLER

General Electric

02423-061

71-White-M

3/13/2000

RELEASED

HERBERT LAWRENCE TANNENBAUM

Tanner Management Corp

82537-054

85-White-M

4/20/2000

RELEASED

RICHARD G PITCHFORD

Central Asia American Enterprise Fund

26036-016

75-White-M

12/4/2003

RELEASED

ROBERT RICHARD KING

Owl Securities and Investments

14447-045

76-White-M

6/30/2006

RELEASED

STEVEN LYNWOOD HEAD

Titan

95321-198

63-White-M

9/29/2008

RELEASED

YAW OSEI AMOAKO

ITXC Corporation

60267-050

58-Black-M

12/17/2008

RELEASED

PAUL GRAYSON NOVAK

Willbros

43505-279

43-White-M

12/19/2008

RELEASED

ROGER MICHAEL YOUNG

ITXC Corporation

29574-016

49-White-M

4/10/2009

RELEASED

STEVEN JOSEPH OTT

ITXC Corporation

60540-050

50-White-M

6/17/2009

RELEASED

RAMENDRA BASU

World Bank

29254-016

47-White-M

8/7/2009

RELEASED

FAHEEM MOUSA SALAM

 

28567-016

32-White-M

1/7/2010

RELEASED

MISAO HIOKI

Bridgestone

90290-111

56-Asian-M

11/23/2010

LOMPOC USP

DAVID KAY

American Rice

13749-179

58-White-M

1/27/2011

TEXARKANA FCI

JIM BOB BROWN

Willbros

66158-179

48-White-M

1/29/2011

ATLANTA USP

CHRISTIAN SAPSIZIAN

Alcatel SA

78172-004

63-White-M

3/18/2011

NE OHIO CORR CTR CI

JASON EDWARD STEPH

Willbros

36444-177

40-White-M

3/28/2011

EL RENO FCI

DOUGLAS MURPHY

American Rice

13987-179

53-White-M

12/31/2012

EL RENO FCI

SHU QUAN-SHENG

AMAC International

58250-083

69-Asian-M

2/18/2013

LA TUNA FCI

 

Thursday
Jan282010

Prison For Ex-Willbros Execs

FCPA violations: The Justice Department is targeting individuals who pay bribes to foreign officials. Photo by Ken MayerTwo former Willbros managers on Thursday were given jail time for conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. They bribed foreign government officials and employees of state-owned firms to win pipeline work and gain other advantages.

Jim Bob Brown, 48, was sentenced in federal court in Houston to one year and one day in prison and fined $17,500; Jason Edward Steph, 40, was sentenced to 15 months and fined $2,000.

Steph, who once served as general manager of on-shore operations for Willbros International, pleaded guilty in November 2007. He said in his plea that in 2005 he, Brown, and others arranged to pay about $1.8 million in cash to Nigerian officials.

Brown pleaded guilty in September 2006 to conspiracy to violate the FCPA. He and Steph cooperated with the government’s investigation.

Brown said from 1996 to 2004, he and others plotted to negotiate lower Nigerian federal and state taxes in exchange for bribes to revenue officials. And he admitted conspiring to make corrupt payments to officials in the Nigerian court system in exchange for favorable treatment on pending cases. Brown also paid at least $300,000 in bribes to Ecuadorian government officials from PetroEcuador and PetroCommercial in exchange for contracts. The DOJ said all the payments violated the FCPA's antibribery provisions.

In May 2008, Willbros Group and its subsidiary Willbros International paid $22 million and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ to settle criminal FCPA charges in connection with corrupt payments to Nigerian and Ecuadorian officials. Willbros Group also paid $10.3 million (disgorgement of $8.9 million, plus prejudgment interest of $1.4 million) to resolve the SEC's civil enforcement action.

In December 2008, another former executive and an ex-consultant of Willbros International Inc. were charged in the case. Consultant Paul G. Novak, 43, pleaded guilty in November 2009 to conspiracy to violate the FCPA. He's scheduled to be sentenced on February 19. James K. Tillery, 49, a former Willbros International executive, was also charged but remains at large.

In May 2008, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Steph and former employees Gerald Jansen, Lloyd Biggers, and Carlos Galvez with aiding and abetting Willbros Group's violation of the antibribery, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the FCPA, and knowingly circumventing the FCPA's internal controls and books and records provisions. All four consented to permanent injunctions, with Jansen and Galvez ordered to pay civil penalties of $30,000 and $35,000 respectively. Determination of Steph's civil penalty was deferred pending his sentencing in the criminal case.

*   *   *

Substantive FCPA violations and conspiracy to violate the FCPA both carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Here are some recent FCPA-related sentences:

  • In November last year, Frederic Bourke, who was convicted at trial, was sentenced to a year and day in jail for conspiracy.
  • David Kay and Douglas Murphy started serving their sentences last year for substantive FCPA violations. They were convicted at trial and sentenced to 37 months and 63 months respectively.
  • In April 2009, Virginia-based physicist Shu Quan-Sheng was sentenced to 51 months in prison. He pleaded guilty in November 2008 to one count of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and two counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act.
  • In September 2008, two former executives from telecoms company ITXC Corporation avoided prison. Roger Michael Young was sentenced to five years probation with three months home confinement after he pleaded guilty in July 2007 to violating the FCPA and the Travel Act. Steven J. Ott also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation with six months in a community confinement center and six months home confinement.
  • Also in September 2008, Albert "Jack" Stanley, KBR's former CEO, pleaded guilty to a two-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He agreed to a seven year jail term with a chance for reduction based on his cooperation. 
  • In  April 2008, a former World Bank employee, Ramendra Basu, received 15 months in prison for conspiring to award World Bank contracts to consultants in exchange for kickbacks and for helping a contractor bribe a foreign official. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and to violating the FCPA.

A copy of the DOJ's January 28, 2010 release is here.

See our prior posts about Willbros and its personnel here.

Thursday
Nov122009

Novak Pleads Guilty

A former consultant for a subsidiary of Houston-based Willbros Group Inc. pleaded guilty on November 12 to paying $6 million in bribes to officials who worked in the Nigerian government, in government-owned companies, and in a political party there. Paul G. Novak, 43, pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and one substantive count of violating the FCPA. He's scheduled to be sentenced on February 19, 2010.

The bribes were intended to help Willbros win and keep contracts for the Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS) Project, worth about $387 million. The project was a natural gas pipeline system in the Niger Delta.

Novak, along with alleged co-conspirators James Kenneth Tillery, Jason Steph, Jim Bob Brown and three employees from a German construction company based in Mannheim, Germany, agreed to make the corrupt payments to, among others, government officials from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, a senior official in the executive branch of the federal government of Nigeria, members of a Nigerian political party and officials from the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd.

To fund the bribes, Steph and others used a Willbros' subsidiary, Willbros West Africa Inc. (WWA), to enter into agreements with two consulting companies Novak represented. Without providing any services, the consulting companies would invoice WWA and be paid from Willbros' bank account in Houston to accounts in Lebanon. Novak then used money from the Lebanese accounts to bribe the Nigerian officials.

In addition to Novak, two Willbros employees have pleaded guilty in the case and Willbros has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement:

On September 14, 2006, Jim Bob Brown, a former Willbros executive, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, for his role in making corrupt payments to Nigerian government officials to obtain and retain the EGGS contract and for making corrupt payments in Ecuador. Brown's sentencing is currently scheduled for January 28, 2010.

On November 5, 2007, Jason Steph, also a former Willbros executive, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, for making corrupt payments to Nigerian government officials to obtain and retain the EGGS contract. Steph's sentencing is also scheduled for January 28, 2010. See our post here.

On May 14, 2008, Willbros Group Inc. and Willbros International Inc. entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay a $22 million criminal penalty, for the illegal payments to government officials in Nigeria and Ecuador. See our post here.

James K. Tillery was charged, along with Novak, for his alleged role in the bribery scheme in an indictment unsealed on December 19, 2008. According to the indictment, Tillery was a Willbros employee and executive from the 1980s through January 2005. He remains a fugitive. See our post here.

Download the DOJ's November 12, 2009 release here.

Wednesday
Mar112009

On The Subject Of Resources

We've mentioned before Dan Newcomb's FCPA Digest, calling it the most definitive publicly-available catalog of FCPA prosecutions, enforcement actions and disclosed investigations. So it's great to see the release of the March 2009 version, available here.

This year, Philip Urofsky becomes editor-in-chief. He told us last week, "In this Digest, we entirely scrapped the previous Trends & Patterns, which had largely become a statistical update, and replaced it with a more analytical piece." The T&P section has always been a favorite of ours, and this year's new-and-improved version (available here) didn't disappoint.

About the prosecution of individuals, for example, it said:

More recently, there is a strong trend of actions against individuals being brought separately or even in advance of charges against their employers and then, in all likelihood, following classic prosecutorial strategy of working up the chain of command, using the individuals to build the government’s case against their superiors and eventually the company. In Willbros, the DOJ charged four employees over a two-year period, with two pleading in previous years (Steph and Brown) and an indictment being returned against two others (Tillery and Novak) in February 2008. Finally, in May 2008, Willbros Group and Willbros International agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement. Similarly, the DOJ entered into a plea agreement with the former CEO of KBR, Stanley, in 2008, well in advance of settling the matter with Halliburton/KBR in early 2009.
And concerning disgorgement, a topic we recently talked about here, it said:
A final trend and pattern worth noting is the SEC’s continued demand for disgorgement of ill-gotten profits in cases in which only books & records violations are charged, such as in the [oil for food] cases. Whether or not a false entry in a company’s books and records (or a failure to implement adequate internal controls) truly results in increased profits is open to question. To date, however, no FCPA defendant has publicly challenged the SEC on whether disgorgement is appropriate when the sole charge is false books and records. Prior to the ABB case in 2004, the SEC had never collected disgorgement in FCPA cases; since then it has sought it in virtually every case with only a few exceptions, such as Dow Chemical, Delta & Pine Land, Lucent, and Conway. In Tyco, the SEC collected $1 in ill-gotten gains (along with $50 million in penalties related to other violations). While this is an isolated example of the SEC seeking such nominal disgorgement, the case does underscore the overall policy of levying disgorgement sanctions in nearly all cases against issuers.
We spend a lot of time in the FCPA Digest. And whenever we turn to it, we're grateful for the hard work and generosity of founding-editor Dan Newcomb, Philip Urofsky and their entire team.
.

Sunday
Dec212008

Two More Ex-Willbros Workers Charged

The Justice Department's aggressive enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act against individuals continues. On Friday, a former executive and an ex-consultant of Willbros International Inc., a subsidiary of Houston-based Willbros Group Inc., were charged in connection with a conspiracy to bribe government officials in Nigeria and Ecuador. Former consultant Paul G. Novak, 41, was arrested on arrival at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. He was returned to the United States from Constantia, South Africa after his U.S. passport was revoked. James K. Tillery, 49, the former Willbros International executive, remains at large.

An indictment unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Houston charges Novak and Tillery with conspiring to bribe Nigerian and Ecuadorian government officials to obtain and retain gas pipeline construction and rehabilitation business from state-owned oil companies in those countries. Tillery and Novak face one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, two counts of violating the FCPA in connection with the authorization of specific corrupt payments to officials in Nigeria and Ecuador, and one count of conspiring to launder the bribe payments through purported consulting companies controlled by Novak.

If convicted of all charges, they each face up to 35 years in prison and fines of the greater of $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss from the FCPA offenses and, for the money laundering conspiracy, $500,000 or twice the value of the funds involved in the transfer.

The indictment says Tillery was a Willbros International employee and executive from the 1980s through January 2005. From 2002 until January 2005, he served as executive vice president and later as president of the company. Novak was an employee in the mid-1990s and later worked as an oil and gas consultant in Nigeria, purporting to provide consulting services to companies in that field.

Tillery and Novak, along with a Nigerian working as a consultant and employees of a German engineering firm Willbros had partnered with, conspired to pay more than $6 million in return for a $387 million contract to construct Nigeria's Eastern Gas Gathering System, according to the indictment. From late 2003 to 2005, payments were made and others promised to Nigerian officials. The indictment also alleges that Tillery, Novak and other Willbros employees based in South America paid $300,000 to officials at the state-owned oil company in Ecuador, PetroEcuador, and its subsidiary PetroComercial, in exchange for a $3 million contract to refurbish a 16-mile gas pipeline between Santo Domingo and El Beaterio.

In May this year, Willbros Group and Willbros International paid $22 million and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ to settle criminal FCPA charges in connection with corrupt payments to Nigerian and Ecuadorian officials. Willbros Group also paid $10.3 million (disgorgement of $8.9 million, plus prejudgment interest of $1.4 million) to resolve the SEC's civil enforcement action. As part of the settlement, the Willbros companies have been cooperating with the DOJ's ongoing investigation.

In November 2007, Jason Edward Steph, 37, who once served as general manager of on-shore operations for Willbros International, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA by bribing Nigerian officials. Steph said that in February and March of 2005 he, former Willbros executive Jim Bob Brown, and others arranged to pay about $1.8 million in cash to the officials. Brown also pleaded guilty to a similar charge in September 2006. He and Steph are cooperating with the government’s investigation and are waiting to be sentenced.

In the May 2008 SEC complaint against Willbros Group, Steph and former employees Gerald Jansen, Lloyd Biggers, and Carlos Galvez were named for aiding and abetting Willbros Group's violation of the antibribery, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the FCPA, and knowingly circumventing the FCPA's internal controls and books and records provisions. All four consented to permanent injunctions, with Jansen and Galvez ordered to pay civil penalties of $30,000 and $35,000 respectively. Determination of Steph's civil penalty was deferred pending his sentencing in the criminal case.

Willbros Group, Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WG. It provides construction, engineering and other services to the oil and gas industry.
_______

Download the DOJ's Dec. 19, 2008 release regarding Paul G. Novak and James K. Tillery here.

Download the DOJ's indictment of Novak and Tillery here.

Download the DOJ's May 14, 2008 release regarding Willbros Group Inc. here.

View the SEC's Litigation Release No. 20571 (May 14, 2008) in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Willbros Group, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 4:08-CV-01494 U.S.D.C., Southern District of Texas (Houston Division) here.

Download the SEC's May 14, 2008 civil complaint against Willbros Group Inc., Jason Steph, Gerald Jansen, Lloyd Biggers and Carlos Galvez here.

Download the DOJ's November 5, 2007 release regarding Jason Edward Steph's guilty plea here.

Download Steph's November 5, 2007 Plea Agreement with the DOJ here.
.