Processing Magazine

Connecticut man sentenced to prison in oil bribe case

November 11, 2009
According to the Associated Press, a Connecticut businessman was sentenced to prison for conspiring with others to corrupt the oil privatization process in Azerbaijan. Frederic Bourke, 53, of Greenwich, Conn., was convicted in July of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and making false statements to the FBI. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin sentenced him to one year and a day in prison and also fined him $1 million. America''s special Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, testified on Bourke''s behalf during the federal trial, where he was also acquitted of money laundering conspiracy. Bourke could have faced up to 10 years in prison, but Scheindlin cited his extraordinary life of charitable works in the field of medicine. She also said she had concerns about the case, which produced little evidence to show bribes were actually paid. Bourke was charged in 2005 with offering hundreds of millions of dollars to top officials in Azerbaijan in exchange for favorable treatment in oil deals. Prosecutors said he bribed key decision makers from the former Soviet republic from 1997 to 1999. Besides cash, the defendants also provided jewelry and luxury items and free medical treatment to the officials, prosecutors said.