Ex-BizJet Executives Charged by U.S. Over Bribery Claims

Two former executives at Lufthansa Technik’s BizJet International Sales and Support face U.S. charges that they participated in a scheme to bribe government officials in Latin America, while two others pleaded guilty.

Bernd Kowalewski, the former president and chief executive officer of BizJet, and Jald Jensen, a former sales manager, paid bribes to Mexican, Brazilian and Panamanian officials in exchange for their assistance securing contracts for BizJet, according to charges filed in federal court in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in January 2012, the Justice Department said yesterday in e-mailed statement. Kowalewski and Jensen are believed to be outside the U.S., according to the statement.

Peter DuBois, the former vice president of sales and marketing at BizJet, and Neal Uhl, the former vice president of finance at the company, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and their pleas were unsealed yesterday, according to the statement.

The four former executives “authorized and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars to be paid directly and indirectly to ranking military officials in various foreign countries,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said in the statement.

BizJet is a U.S. based-unit of Koeln, Germany-based Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Europe’s second-largest carrier. The government in March 2012 announced a deferred prosecution agreement with BizJet and an $11.8 million monetary penalty to resolve charges related to the FCPA. The FCPA prohibits bribing foreign government officials to gain a commercial advantage.

Money Laundering

U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell in Tulsa yesterday reduced the sentences for DuBois and Uhl to probation and eight months home detention based on their cooperation in the government’s investigation, according to the statement.

Electronic court records for the case didn’t identify the lawyers for the former executives.

Jay Holtmeier, a lawyer for BizJet, didn’t immediately return a call after regular business hours yesterday seeking comment on the charges against the executives.

The case is USA v. Bizjet International Sales and Support, Inc., 4:12-cr-00061, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa).

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