Matt Reinhard Comments on Shot Show Acquittals in Bloomberg BNA White Collar Crime Report

"Ex-Secret Service Official, Company Owner Acquitted of Charges Related to FCPA Sting"
Bloomberg BNA White Collar Crime Report
02.02.12

Matt Reinhard discusses the January 30 acquittal of two men of charges they participated in a scheme to bribe government officials of the West African country of Gabon, the most recent in a series of setbacks for the government in the "shot show" case. Reinhard said that he continues to believe these setbacks won't alter DOJ's long-term plans to aggressively prosecute individuals under the FCPA. "This case has been a bit of an odd duck since the beginning, as it results entirely from a sting operation that was built upon an informer," Reinhard said. "Juries tend not to like snitches, and not to like stings, and it could be that they just did not like the way the government handled itself here."

Reinhard noted that many commentators have wondered why the government has invested so many resources into a sting operation when there appears to be plenty of other targets out there. For example, Reinhard cited the indictment in December of several senior Siemens AG executives. Reinhard explained that the shot-show case is the first to draw on large-scale use of undercover investigative techniques in a foreign bribery probe. However, he believes there should be a distinction drawn between undercover operations and a sting like this. "These facts were fictional from the very beginning, completely made up and enacted by the FBI and DOJ relying on the assistance of a single informer who had a string of his own criminal problems," Reinhard said. "That is much different than, for example, getting a cooperator to wear a wire into a business meeting—a real business meeting about a real transaction— where bribery is discussed." It is that type of undercover work that Reinhard suspects the government will continue to pursue if the opportunity arises. However, he believes that—at least in the near term—DOJ may think twice about any further sting operations. Nonetheless, Reinhard doesn't see the government giving up on the remaining shot-show trials. He noted that if the government secures any form of conviction for the remaining defendants, a retrial of the hung cases is likely.

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