In a stunning resolution to one of the longest running bribery, corruption and money-laundering sagas on the international stage, the Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission both announced settlement of a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement action against the Russian telecom company, Mobile TeleSystems PJSC (MTS). The FCPA enforcement action came in at $850 million which makes it Number 3 in the Top 10 of all-time FCPA settlements. This podcast opens a multi-part series will examine the background facts of the case, provide a detailed review of the bribery schemes involved, the compliance failures of MTS and its actions during the investigation which contributed to the size of the penalty, the individual criminal prosecutions brought by the Department of Justice as a part of this action and the key lessons learned by the compliance practitioner. In this Part 1, I begin with a review of the background facts, the parties and players and the fine and penalty of the MTS Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action.
The enforcement action was the third involving the same individual from the same country. That individual was Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the former President of Uzbekistan. If that name sounds familiar to compliance professionals it is because she was also involved in the receipt of bribes paid in two other Top 10 FCPA enforcement actions; VimpelCom (now VEON Ltd.) and Telia Company AB. Contemporaneously with FCPA enforcement action involving MTS, there was a criminal indictment filed against Karimova and Bekhzod Akhmedov, a former MTS executive based in Uzbekistan. Akhmedov was charged with violating the FCPA for paying bribes to or for the benefit of Karimova and Karimova was charged she with laundering the money received as bribes.
The documents which are the subject of this series are:
- MTS Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA);
- MTS Criminal Information (MTS Information);
- SEC Cease and Desist Order (Order);
- Karimova and Akhmedov Indictment (Indictment);
- Kolorit Dizayn Ink LLC Plea Agreement (Plea Agreement); and
- Kolorit Dizayn Ink Information (Kolorit Information);
- DOJ Press Release and
- SEC Press Release.
For additional reading see the blog post, “MTS FCPA Settlement and Karimova Indictment: Part I-Introduction“.