* Lufthansa unit BizJet provides aircraft maintenance
* Four insiders allegedly offered bribes to get contracts
* Two defendants pleaded guilty; other two remain abroad
By Nick Brown
April 5 Two officers of a Lufthansa
subsidiary were indicted in Oklahoma on charges of bribing
foreign officials to secure aircraft maintenance contracts,
while two others pleaded guilty to related criminal charges, the
U.S. Department of Justice announced.
The charges, unsealed on Friday, were filed in January of
2012 against four directors of BizJet International Sales &
Support, a U.S.-based unit of Lufthansa that provides aircraft
maintenance, after a joint probe by the DOJ and FBI.
The men are accused of offering "hundreds of thousands of
dollars" in bribes to Latin American military officials in
violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the DOJ said in
a statement on Friday.
The recipients of the bribes, to ensure aircraft maintenance
contracts for BizJet, include officials at the Mexican Policia
Federal Preventiva and the Estado De Roraima in Brazil, the DOJ
The charges follow an $11.8 million penalty paid last year
by BizJet stemming from the same alleged corrupt practice.
Two of the men have already pleaded guilty, according to the
DOJ. Paul DuBois, the company's former vice president of sales,
admitted to one count each of violating and conspiring to
violate the FCPA, while Former Vice President of Finance Neal
Uhl pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA.
Both men were sentenced in federal court in Oklahoma on
Friday to probation and eight months home detention.
BizJet's former Chief Executive, Bernd Kowalewski, along
with former Sales Manager Jald Jensen, were indicted on charges
of violating and conspiring to violate the FCPA and laundering
money. Both are believed to be abroad, the DOJ said.
A spokeswoman for BizJet did not respond to a request for
comment. A spokesperson for Lufthansa could not immediately be
FCPA investigations are fairly common among U.S. companies,
but the DOJ has had some trouble making charges stick. Last
year, the department moved to dismiss a case involving almost
two dozen defendants in the arms industry after prosecutors were
unable to convince two juries that what the defendants did was
Another federal judge in California in December 2011
dismissed the conviction of power products company Lindsey
Manufacturing based on what he said was prosecutorial
The BizJet charges reflect the department's "continued
commitment to holding individuals accountable for violations of
the FCPA," Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general,
said in the DOJ's statement.
Valerie Parlave, assistant director at the FBI's Washington
field office, said the bureau is "committed to curbing
"Business executives have a responsibility to act
appropriately in order to maintain a fair and competitive
international market," Parlave said in the statement.