Axius Fraud Case Cooperator Deserves Leniency, U.S. SaysChristie Smythe
A Swiss financial professional provided “excellent” cooperation in a case against former Axius Inc. Chief Executive Officer Roland Kaufman and should receive leniency at sentencing, federal prosecutors said.
Jean-Pierre Neuhaus, 54, who was charged along with Kaufman in a case alleging manipulation of Axius’s stock price, should get credit “for his substantial assistance,” prosecutors said in a letter filed yesterday in Brooklyn, New York, federal court.
“Neuhaus’s cooperation has been excellent,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Ilene Jaroslaw and U.S. Justice Department lawyer Justin Goodyear.
“The scope of his cooperation has been broad, and his clear and honest relating of the details of the conspiracy significantly enhanced the understanding of the government and the strength of the case against Kaufman,” the prosecutors said in the letter.
The two men, both Swiss citizens, were arrested in March 2012 and accused of attempting to inflate the Dubai-based company’s share price through a scheme to bribe stockbrokers.
They were caught after telling an undercover agent, who they thought controlled a network of corrupt stockbrokers, to direct brokers to buy shares of Axius owned or controlled by Kaufman for a kickback of 26 to 28 percent of the share price, according to the government.
Neuhaus agreed to cooperate with the government shortly after his arrest and told prosecutors about additional transactions he had engaged in with Kaufman before they communicated with the undercover agent, according to the letter.
Kaufman pleaded guilty in January to one count of conspiracy and faces an estimated sentence of 63 to 78 months in prison under nonbinding federal guidelines. Neuhaus pleaded guilty in October to a conspiracy charge and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 15 before U.S. District Judge John Gleeson.
Prosecutors requested a “downward departure” from an estimated range of 46 to 57 months.
“The government believes it is likely that Neuhaus’s expected testimony at trial was a significant factor in Kaufman’s decision to plead guilty,” prosecutors said in the letter.
Axius is a “development stage company” which “intends to link world cultures and business enterprise together under a common umbrella,” according to a report filed in September with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In a June 2008 report, the company is described a developer of “wind and solar powered boilers.”
The case is U.S. v. Neuhaus, 12-cr-00439, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).