Jury to Weigh Reach of U.S. Bribery Law -- Update
By Dylan Tokar
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A jury is expected to deliberate Thursday in
a long-running case that is testing the reach of the U.S.'s foreign
Closing arguments were delivered Wednesday in the trial of
Lawrence Hoskins, a former Alstom SA senior vice president. The
U.S. government's case against Mr. Hoskins hinges in part on
whether he qualifies as an "agent" under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt
Practices Act, which prohibits bribes to foreign government
To make that determination, the jury will consider whether Mr.
Hoskins, who was charged in 2013 with helping organize a scheme to
bribe Indonesian officials for a $118 million power contract, had
sufficient ties to a former Alstom subsidiary based in Windsor,
"The question of agency is absolutely critical to this case,"
Christopher Morvillo, a lawyer for Mr. Hoskins said Wednesday. Mr.
Hoskins couldn't be found guilty of any FCPA-related charges unless
jurors first concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that the former
executive was an agent of the U.S. subsidiary, he said.
The statute, enacted in 1977, applies to companies listed on
U.S. stock exchanges and private companies organized under U.S.
laws, their shareholders, directors, employees and agents, as well
as other individuals who violate the statute while in U.S.
Prosecutors allege that Mr. Hoskins acted as an agent of Alstom
Power Inc., the former Alstom subsidiary, which served as
headquarters of Alstom's world-wide boiler business.
He did so by supporting API's bid to secure the Indonesia power
contract -- known as the Tarahan Project -- including by helping to
hire two consultants who paid bribes to a member of Indonesia's
parliament and executives at the country's state-owned electricity
company, they said.
"The defendant very clearly was working on behalf of API," one
of the prosecutors, Daniel Kahn, said. "What you are concerned
about are the services he was providing on the Tarahan
Lawyers for Mr. Hoskins, a British national who worked in
suburban Paris and didn't visit the U.S. during his three years at
Alstom, have disputed the government's characterization of his
relationship with the U.S. subsidiary.
API didn't have enough control over Mr. Hoskins's activities to
meet the common legal definition of an agent, they have said.
"A supporter is not always a person who is under the control of
the person being supported," Mr. Morvillo said Wednesday. "It only
means that Mr. Hoskins's job was to provide assistance where he
could. It does not create an agency relationship."
Mr. Morvillo also argued that the government had failed to prove
that Mr. Hoskins, who didn't testify during the trial, had
sufficient knowledge of the bribery scheme. Emails by Mr. Hoskins
shown to jurors were consistent with an understanding that the
consultants were being hired merely to provide local lobbying
services, he said.
"In other words, you will find a man doing his job," Mr.
The case is before the U.S. District Court for the District of
Connecticut. Mr. Hoskins is also facing money-laundering and
The case against Mr. Hoskins already has yielded a ruling that
placed more defined limits on who the government can charge with
conspiring to violate the statute. The trial, which began Oct. 28,
was delayed in part because of a lengthy appeal by the Justice
Department of that ruling.
A U.S. government investigation of Alstom ended when the company
resolved its own FCPA violations. Alstom sold its power business to
General Electric Co. in 2015, after agreeing to pay $772 million to
resolve the FCPA probe.
Write to Dylan Tokar at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 06, 2019 20:41 ET (01:41 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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