back to article FBI nicks 22 in classic bribery sting

The FBI has arrested 22 people, including three Brits, in a classic bribery sting. Investigators used a supposed African defence minister to lend credence to their claim to be looking for someone to sell them arms for a Presidential guard unit. As part of the deal, the accused allegedly agreed to a 20 per cent bung to be paid to …

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Stop

whatever happened to

entrapment?

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entrapment...

... is when A induces B to do something that B otherwise wouldn't; if B chose to do something of his own volition and A just let him, then it is not entrapment... IIRC

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Awww ...

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people. I feel for them, I really do.

Made my day, this one.

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Unhappy

Shock Horror...

Arms dealers in corruption scandal....

Clearly enough didn't go to the goverment, but there is still time....

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Missing Info

I'm intrigued why theres no menton of the names of the companies involved. Surely they are as culpable as their employees . . . .

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hmm

sounds a lot like entrapment to me... not that i am bothered. the arms trade is bad.

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Silver badge

You should be bothered.

You can't set aside rights you don't like just so you can catch people you've decided are guilty in advance. It's that sort of attitude that ultimately leads to the way Labour are acting right now.

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Partly true

but then all these terrorists cry about their civil rights dont they!

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Missing something here?

If a British resident bribes a (fake) African minister, how can the American FBI have any jurisdiction?

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@Edwin

Because the bribes took place on US soil perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

innocent until proven guilty

why list them, surely they are innocent until proven guilty. Once convicted, sure name, but listing them now adds nothing to the story but causes the accused and possibly innocent acute embarrassment.

The police method is described, and can be considered to be a case for the prosecution. Have you contacted any of the accused and asked them what happened. Is it a balanced report ?

No way do I condone bribery, just believe the courts are where they should be tried not in any form of press. If they are found guilty, throw the book at them.

maybe being paid by word for the article ?

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Headmaster

Sure, but legal defence needed

Once the police charge someone it is in their interest to have this fact published. Otherwise there would be little to prevent the police ensuring that someone accused of a serious offence languishes in jail with those they know thinking they have dissappeared, and all sorts of bureacratic reasons being used to block their communications with the outside world. This is all part of a legal process to ensure people can't be held too long without charge and that those charged have their rights protected by the courts. Personally I can't see the rights of those accused being protectable otherwise.

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Yay

I feel safer already.

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Go

What would make a MORE interesting story

would be to see the names of the companies that were contacted by the FBI in this sting but which refused to pay the bribes... I'd certainly find that siginifcantly more interesting and being able to make the claim that your company is a non-corrupt wepaons manufacturer might make others less willing to play ball and pay the bribes wanted in the 3rd world...

or may be im a dreamer...

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Don't worry

you're not the only one.

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Coat

Don't be silly...

Those companies probably give the bribes directly to <insert name of country>'s minister of defence. Neither would I be surprised to find out that is was one of the "non-corrupt" companies that tipped off the FBI (Failed Bunglers of Instigation).

Or maybe they tapped their phones http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/20/fbi_phone/

I hope the CIA wasn’t too embarrassed when the FBI arrested the it’s operatives.

Mines the one with Contra drugs money in the pocket

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When in Rome...

As much as I do dislike bribery in any form, in many countries it is the *only* way of doing business. And if it isn't illegal in that country (which isn't named in the article), why the heck are the Federal Bureau of Idiots involved?

A UK company does something which isn't illegal in one country, but is in the US so the World Police spring into action again?

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Grenade

Bribery is illegal everywhere

But it often suits the rich and powerful not to enforce such laws and to behave in a manner that makes such laws unenforceable in practice. Unless it affects someone else. Very often the people at the top are there because they have managed to avoid getting caught. It also suits the large arms manufacturers to have minor independent arms dealers locked up to reduce competition in the bribery market. The fact that you won't find executives of major US or UK arms corporations caught up in this kind of sting doesn't mean bribery isn't used or doesn't operate at a higher level, but major arms corporations have more political clout than the smaller dealerships.

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great news

"If a British resident bribes a (fake) African minister, how can the American FBI have any jurisdiction?"

FCPA applies to US citizens/residents, foreign companies listed in the US *and* where any step in the bribery took place in the US. Considering this includes bank transfers and so many payments are funnelled through correspondant accounts in the US, a huge proportional of international trade comes within FCPA jurisdiction on this basis. US DoJ has been extremely aggressive about asserting jurisdiction in these cases. But

in any case, the same behaviour is criminalised by all OECD states. It's just that the US (and, maybe, Germany) is the only state to take its anti-corruption obligations seriously and actually prosecute people for it on a regular basis.

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LMAOAPMP

First thought was this is entrapment of some everyday fools who would get taken to the cleaners on any 419 scam, but looking at the list of people involved, their professions and judging what they would likely know about the law on such arms deals, I can't say I find them hard done by.

Innocent until proven guilty, and give them their day in court, but it seems they've demonstrated a willingness to break the law regardless.

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Bronze badge

entrapment, indeed

I can't help but think J.E. Hoover would've been even prouder of the thousands of illegal wiretaps over the last few years.

That aside, one would like to know how this is not entrapment. The men caught up in the ABSCAM business 30 years ago were some of them pretty disgusting, but the methods used never seemed appropriate.

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Different strokes

In France, bribery by companies of foreign officials & companies used to be a tax-deductable expense. How times change.

Arms companies, particularly small ones that don't have contracts with 1st world armed forces like the big boys do, will be getting a large part of their revenue from shaky developing countries, which tend to be shaky in the first place due to things like an endemic bribery culture. Companies that don't play by those rules will never see a contract, and that is not just limited to the arms trade either.

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Hard to condone bribery...BUT

Its impossible to feel that this is a great use of US taxpayer dollars - you have terrorists actually trying to light their explosive underwear on flights, and yet here you have an elaborate and probably expensive prosecution for what is basically a victimless crime. And as others have mentioned, MOST business in shakey third-world counries entails some level of bribery - but that's the fault of the countries, not the fault of the businessmen trying to actually do business with them. Trying to make third-world countries adhere to first-world morals and standards of behaviour is a great idea - right up there with world peace.

I get the feeling that this investigation started when someone else lost a bid in Africa, and started to think of a way to get even by talking to friends in the FBI...at least vengence would make sense as a "why?" to this.

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FAIL

Corruption is NOT victim-less

Only victim-less crime here is you speaking bollocks on the Internet -- and even that is debatable.

Corruption is not victim-less. Don't you hear all the retards whining that African/Latin American/[insert hellhole of choice] country X is only where they are because they are corrupt and we shouldn't even feel sorry for them? Who pays for that is the regular folk in the street of said miserable countries, not the ministers and militia chiefs who are rolling in money themselves. Well, as you acknowledge yourself the corrupt do not stand in a vacuum. There is always a corrupter for every corrupt, stands to simple reasoning. If a 3rd world country is corrupt it is also YOUR fault, because you are paying their bribes. If nobody payed, what would happen? Would they just go without the things they were trying to buy? Would they be honest? Would they find another way to get what they need, licit or not? I don't know.

But I do know only immoral people believe that being a corrupter and a criminal just to make a buck is acceptable and justifiable. (but mum! everyone is doing it! is no defense, as anyone with an honest mother must have heard at least once)

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Boffin

Entrapment?

We'll see how the courts rule in the present case, but all of the ABSCAM convictions were upheld on appeal. As Igor Mozolevsky points out above, entrapment hinges on whether the target is induced to do something he wouldn't otherwise do. WRT one of the ABSCAM targets:

'The first to be caught was Congressman Michael "Ozzie" Myers (1943-) of Pennsylvania, who was videotaped accepting a $50,000 bribe and saying, "I'm going to tell you something real simple and short-money talks in this business." '

His entrapment defense was unsuccessful.

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And the ones they didn't arrest....

... were the ones that had not been contacted in the first place, surely? Speaking of which, how did they chose the targets?

As much as I dislike sting operations in general, it's nice to see that they are not always targeted to the "small and mostly harmless" (I mean, undercover "prostitutes", really?) or causing more problems than they "solve" (see the latest credit card fraud sting). It would be fun to have the same kind of operations for software vendors... "small African country will buy 10 M school computers. Make offers for OS.". Mandriva might be pleased by the results.

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Entrapment

The problem with the entrapment defense is that it relies on the "something you would not otherwise have done" part. How do you prove that someone would -or wouldn't- have done anything otherwise? That's right, you can't. Therefore the tribunal usually sides with the party that they trust the most to begin with, regardless of any other element -and that is always the law enforcement agency.

However, it is quite well known that brown envelopes are very often used in big international deals, especially in the arms trade, so there is reasonable ground to believe that at least some of the accused here would have been solicited in a similar manner "otherwise". Still hard to prove, but not completely impossible. What is more annoying is when a simple-minded chap is brainwashed into taking part into an improbable "terrorist plot" by a FBI agent, then sent to Gitmo (as happened in the US not so long ago).

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Pint

demonstrating entrapment

"The problem with the entrapment defense is that it relies on the "something you would not otherwise have done" part. How do you prove that someone would -or wouldn't- have done anything otherwise?"

Quite easily actually -- compare

1) A: "I will not sign this agreement under these terms"

B: "I give you $1m; would you sign it now?"

with

2) A: "I will not sign this agreement under these terms unless you give me $1m as well"

B: "Ok here is $1m, please sign now"

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Badgers

Small Fish

Chasing small fish for a few African millions while Wall Street is rewarded for stealing trillions... All done for the "good" of the taxpayers... at their expense, of course.

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Grenade

Ofer Paz

Most ironic name ever for a salesman of such merchandise.

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