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Basurto Sentenced To 'Time Served'

The government's primary witness against former ABB manager John O'Shea won't serve any more jail time for conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

Last week, Judge Lynn Hughes ordered Fernando Basurto Jr.’s sentence be limited to 'time served.' The Mexican citizen spent twenty two months in jail after his arrest in Dallas in 2009.

Here's a report from Chris Matthews of the Wall Street Journal.

Basurto, now 50, was a sales agent hired by O'Shea to help ABB win work in Mexico. He admitted bribing officials at Mexico's state-owned electric utility CFE. 

Basurto pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, launder money, and falsify records, and could have been jailed for up to five years. He agreed to cooperate with the DOJ in exchange for a more lenient sentence.

O'Shea went free after Judge Hughes dismissed the FCPA counts against him in January, saying Basurto knew almost nothing. 'His answers were abstract and vague, generally relating gossip,' Judge Hughes said. 'And as I indicated, even hearsay testimony must be something other than a conclusion.'

O'Shea prosecution ended a month later when the government dismissed the remaining counts he faced for conspiracy, money laundering, and obstruction.

In September 2010, ABB Ltd of Switzerland reached a $58 million settlement with the DOJ and SEC. Its U.S. subsidiary, ABB Inc., pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging it with one count of violating the antibribery provisions of the FCPA and one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

ABB said it discovered the illegal payments in Mexico during an internal investigation. It self-disclosed the bribery and an alleged cover, and it helped the DOJ and SEC with their investigations.

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