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On March 23, 2016, the DOJ announced that Abraham Jose Shiera-Bastidas pleaded guilty in a federal court in Texas to violating the FCPA and committing wire fraud by paying bribes to ensure that two companies won contracts and received other preferential treatment from Venezuelas state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (Petroleos). Mr. Shiera-Bastidas was the owner of an oil-field supply company that supplied goods and services to Petroleos de Venezuela. Mr. Shiera-Bastidas was charged in December 2015 along with the owner of the other involved company, Mr. Roberto Enrique Rincon Fernandez. The charges against Mr. Rincon Fernandez are still pending and he has been detained pending his trial, which is scheduled for April. The judge also unsealed guilty pleas made by four other individuals in connection with the same probe into Petroleos. One of these individuals was an employee of Mr. Shiera-Bastidas company, while the other three individuals were former officials of Petroleos. Mr. Shiera-Bastidas is due to be sentenced in July and faces a maximum of five years in prison for each count. Previous FCPA Scorecard coverage on the Petroleos investigations can be found here.
According to news reports, a DOJ spokesman has confirmed the December 20 arrest of two contractors in connection with an ongoing probe of Venezuelas state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela. One of the contractors, Roberto Rincon, is the owner of a Houston-based oil-field supply company. The other, Abraham Jose Shiera-Bastidas, is a Venezuelan national living in Florida. The indictment, filed in a Texas federal court, alleges violations of the FCPAs anti-bribery provisions as well as money laundering offenses, and seeks forfeiture of several Swiss bank accounts. The indictment alleges that between 2009 and 2014, Rincon and Shiera-Bastidas conspired to bribe Venezuelan officials in exchange for rigging the bidding panels that award contracts from Petroleos de Venezuela. The indictment identifies nine alleged bribes paid by Rincon and Shiera-Bastidas totaling $790,000.
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