Mexico Investigates Alleged Bribes for Air Service Contracts

Mexico’s Attorney General is investigating Bizjet International Sales and Support Inc. after it agreed to pay an $11.8 million criminal penalty to resolve charges related to U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection to alleged bribes in Latin America.

The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company allegedly paid $2 million to Mexican officials to win contracts, the Attorney General’s Office, or PGR, said in an e-mailed statement today.

The bribes were paid between 2004 and 2009 for maintenance, repair and general inspection contracts worth about $24 million for federal and state planes and helicopters, according to the statement. A Bizjet sales manager who allegedly paid the bribes is a “fugitive,” the office said, without providing further details.

“Thanks to the cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico, various Bizjet employees considered to have intervened in acts of corruption have been identified, as well as six Mexican public officials who will potentially be regarded as those who accepted the bribes,” the PGR said.

BizJet reached a “deferred prosecution agreement” with U.S. authorities after its parent company Lufthansa Technik discovered the irregularities during an internal audit, according to an e-mailed note from the company’s lawyer, Jay Holtmeier. The employees accused by the U.S. authorities are no longer at the company, he said.

the U.S. Justice Department announced the settlement with BizJet International Sales and Support Inc. in a statement today. The settlement is in connection with the company’s bribing of government officials in Latin America to secure contracts for aircraft services, according to the statement.

To contact the reporters on this story: Nacha Cattan in Mexico City at ncattan@bloomberg.net Adam Cataldo at acataldo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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