This is an update to last week’s post about the massive FBI sting operation that led to the arrest of 22 defense contractor employees on charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). We noted that the investigation was ongoing, which might explain why the Department of Justice didn’t name the companies for which those individuals worked. Fortunately, with Google and the help of our readers, we were able to identify most of the companies, none of which are among the top federal contractors featured in our Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.
This week, however, we discovered at least one connection to a contractor our database. It turns out that one of the main “actors” who took part in the sting operation and helped the FBI nab the 22 individuals is a former executive at Armor Holdings who is facing FCPA charges in a different matter. Richard Bistrong, a former vice president for international sales at Armor Holdings (acquired by BAE Systems in 2007), is accused of paying bribes from 2001 to 2006 to get contracts to supply law enforcement equipment to United Nations peacekeeping forces and government agencies in the Netherlands and Nigeria. Bistrong’s assistance in the sting operation probably guarantees him a lenient sentence.
Remarkably, one of the 22 individuals arrested in the sting operation, Jonathan Spiller, was Bistrong’s former boss at Armor Holdings. In fact, Spiller’s indictment identifies “Individual 1” (aka Bistrong) as a “business associate” of Spiller.
Bistrong’s case also has an interesting political angle. According to the New York Times, Bistrong was married to Nancy Soderberg from 2004 to 2008. Soderberg was the third-ranking official on the National Security Council under President Clinton from 1993 to 1997 and served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1997 until January 2001. Bistrong’s alleged illegal conduct began in June 2001.
The Bistrong case shows that the DOJ is casting a wide net in this investigation, going after any and all FCPA violators with a vengeance. There have been several other headline-grabbing FCPA enforcement actions in recent years, such as the punishment of Chevron and Textron over the Iraq Oil-For-Food scandal and last year’s major takedown of KBR and Halliburton for bribing Nigerian officials.
So keep watching the news. And keep trolling the Internet, too, because you never know what fascinating tidbits will pop up as the DOJ investigation surges onward, such as this first-hand account from Andrew Bigelow, another of the 22 individuals arrested last week.
-- Neil Gordon