The U.S. District Court in Hawaii sentenced a Micronesian government official to prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA").

According to the DOJ, Master Halbert, an official in Micronesia's Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure, accepted bribes from a Hawaii-based engineering and consulting company. In January, the Hawaiian company's owner pleaded guilty to paying bribes to obtain contracts valued at $8 million from the Micronesian government. The Court sentenced Mr. Halbert to 18 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Commentary / Christian Larson

This is the latest in a series of DOJ actions against foreign officials who received payments from U.S. persons in violation of the FCPA. Although the FCPA criminalizes any corrupt payment to a foreign official, it does not criminalize that foreign official's acceptance of the payment. The criminal money laundering statutes, however, prohibit any person from knowingly transacting in the proceeds of a bribe. The DOJ's actions are designed to deter bribe payers and receivers alike.

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