HOUSTON - The former CEO and chief operations
officer (COO) of a Monaco-based intermediary company have pleaded guilty for
their roles in a scheme to corruptly facilitate millions of dollars in bribe
payments to officials in multiple countries. These included Algeria, Angola,
Azerbaijan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya and
Syria. The company’s former business development director also pleaded guilty
for his role in paying bribes in Libya.
Cyrus Ahsani, 51, and Saman Ahsani, 46, both of United
Kingdom (UK), each pleaded guilty March 25 to one count of conspiracy to
violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Conspiring to facilitate bribes
on behalf of companies in foreign countries in order to secure oil and gas
contracts. UK resident Steven Hunter, 50, former business development director,
pleaded guilty Aug. 2, 2018, to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.
Cyrus and Saman Ahsani are set for sentencing April 20, 2020, before U.S.
District Judge Vanessa Gilmore of the Southern District of Texas. Hunter’s
sentencing is scheduled for March 13, 2020, before U.S. District Judge David
According to court documents, former U.S. resident and
CEO Cyrus Ahsani and former COO Saman Ahsani managed a Monaco-based
intermediary company that provided services for multinational companies
operating in the energy sector. From approximately 1999 to 2016, the Ahsanis
conspired with others, including multiple companies and individuals, to make
millions of dollars in bribe payments to government officials in Algeria,
Angola, Azerbaijan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan,
Libya and Syria.
Additionally, court documents reflect Cyrus and Saman
Ahsani laundered the proceeds of their bribery scheme in order to promote and
conceal the schemes and to cause the destruction of evidence in order to
obstruct investigations in the United States and elsewhere. Hunter participated
in the conspiracy to violate the FCPA by, among other things, facilitating
bribe payments to Libyan officials between about 2009 and 2015.
The FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation and U.S. Postal
Inspection Service conducted the investigation. Trial Attorneys Dennis R. Kihm,
Gerald M. Moody Jr., Jonathan P. Robell and Gwendolyn A. Stamper of the
Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Elmilady
of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case. The Criminal
Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided substantial assistance
in this matter.
The governments of Australia, Canada, France, Guernsey,
Italy, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and UK provided significant
assistance in this matter as did the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and
prosecuting all FCPA matters. Additional information about the Justice
Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/foreign-corrupt-practices-act.