Nexus Technologies Inc. and Three Employees Plead Guilty to Paying Bribes to Vietnamese Officials
Company Agrees to Cease Operations and Dissolve
|U.S. Department of Justice March 16, 2010|
WASHINGTON—Nexus Technologies Inc., a Philadelphia-based export company, pleaded guilty today in connection with a conspiracy to bribe officials of the Vietnamese government in exchange for lucrative contracts to supply equipment and technology to Vietnamese government agencies, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office. The president and owner of the company, Nam Nguyen, and his siblings and fellow Nexus personnel, Kim Nguyen and An Nguyen, also pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Savage in connection with the conspiracy.
Nexus; Nam Nguyen, 54, of Houston and Vietnam; Kim Nguyen, 41, of Philadelphia; and An Nguyen, 34, of Philadelphia, were charged in a superseding indictment on Oct. 30, 2009, with conspiracy, violations of the FCPA, violations of the Travel Act in connection with commercial bribes, and money laundering. Nexus pleaded guilty today to all the charges filed against the company in the superseding indictment. Nam and An Nguyen each pleaded guilty to conspiracy, a substantive FCPA violation, a violation of the Travel Act, and money laundering. Kim Nguyen pleaded guilty to conspiracy, a substantive FCPA violation, and money laundering. Former Nexus partner Joseph T. Lukas pleaded guilty on June 29, 2009, to conspiracy and to violating the FCPA.
According to court documents, Nexus was a privately-owned export company that identified U.S. vendors for contracts opened for bid by the Vietnamese government and other companies operating in Vietnam. The contracts allowed for the purchase of a wide variety of equipment and technology, including underwater mapping equipment, bomb containment equipment, helicopter parts, chemical detectors, satellite communication parts, and air tracking systems. According to court documents, Nam Nguyen negotiated the contracts and bribes with the Vietnamese government agencies and employees. Kim Nguyen, vice president of Nexus, oversaw the U.S. operations and handled company finances. An Nguyen identified U.S. vendors to supply the goods needed to fulfill the contracts.
In connection with the guilty pleas, Nexus and the Nguyens admitted that from 1999 to 2008, they agreed to pay, and knowingly paid, bribes in excess of $250,000 to Vietnamese government officials in exchange for contracts with the agencies and companies for which the bribe recipients worked. The defendants admitted that the bribes were falsely described as “commissions” in the company’s records. In pleading guilty, Nexus also acknowledged that, as a company, it operated primarily through criminal means and agreed to cease operations as a condition of the guilty plea.
At sentencing, scheduled for July 13, 2010, Nexus faces a maximum fine of $27 million. Nam and An Nguyen each face a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison. Kim Nguyen faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Kathleen M Hamann of the Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia and New Jersey field offices of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement.
The Justice Department acknowledges and expresses its appreciation for the assistance provided by the authorities of the Independent Commission Against Corruption of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.