Last week, the DOJ announced its first corporate enforcement action under the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (“FCPA”) for 2015. IAP World Services, Inc., a Florida-based defense and government contractor, agreed to pay $7.1 million in a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) for conspiring to bribe Kuwaiti officials in exchange for a contract to build a large-scale homeland surveillance system in Kuwait. The primary employee involved, James Rama, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA. (see here for criminal information and here for plea agreement). Fresh off the heels of the announcement that the DOJ has declined to prosecute Petro Tiger (only the second publicly-acknowledged declination of its kind), the IAP settlement is the first significant case from the DOJ in a year where FCPA enforcement has thus far been dominated by the SEC.
According to the NPA, Kuwait’s Ministry of the Interior started a homeland security project in 2004, which was divided into two phases. Rama and others allegedly created a shell company, Ramaco, which bid on and won the Phase I contract. Rama and IAP allegedly designated half of the approximately $4 million Ramaco received from the Phase I contract to bribe Kuwaiti officials through a consultant to assist IAP in gaining the lucrative Phase II contract.