Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: $16M SEC Whistleblower Reward, SBM Offshore

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

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Reza Zarrab Testifies That He Bribed Turkish Minister

The prosecution of Mr. Zarrab, Mr. Atilla and seven other people who remain at large — including the former economy minister, Zafer Caglayan — has sent tremors through Turkish political circles.

Allegations that Mr. Caglayan had taken bribes surfaced in a 2013 Turkish police investigation, when Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was prime minister. A prosecutor told the jury on Tuesday that corrupt Turkish officials had shut down that inquiry, but that the F.B.I.’s own investigation “tells the same story” as the Turkish police found.

Mr. Erdogan has bitterly condemned the new prosecution and sought to persuade American officials to drop it. read more »

Lawyer admits trying to sell secret U.S. whistleblower lawsuits

A former partner at a major law firm in Washington pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges that he tried to sell copies of sealed whistleblower lawsuits against corporations that he obtained while working at the U.S. Justice Department.

Jeffrey Wertkin, 41, was working at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP when he was arrested in January trying to sell an undercover federal agent one of the lawsuits while wearing a wig as a disguise, according to court papers.

He pleaded guilty in San Francisco federal court to charges of obstruction of justice and interstate transportation of stolen goods, court records show. Sentencing is scheduled for March. read more »

SBM Offshore settles U.S. bribery case, to pay $238 million

SBM Offshore NV (SBMO.AS), a Netherlands-based maker of offshore oil drilling equipment, and its U.S. subsidiary, SBM Offshore USA Inc, agreed to settle criminal charges of bribing officials in five countries and pay a $238 million penalty, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday.

The companies agreed to settle charges related to schemes lasting more than a decade involving bribery of foreign officials in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Iraq, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the Justice Department said in a statement. read more »

More Than $16 Million Awarded to Two Whistleblowers

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced awards of more than $8 million each to two whistleblowers whose critical information and continuing assistance helped the agency bring the successful underlying enforcement action.

With this case, SEC enforcement actions involving whistleblower awards have now resulted in more than $1 billion in financial remedies ordered against wrongdoers.

The first whistleblower alerted SEC enforcement staff of the particular misconduct that would become the focus of the staff’s investigation and the cornerstone of the agency’s subsequent enforcement action.  The second whistleblower provided additional significant information and ongoing cooperation to the staff during the investigation that saved a substantial amount of time and agency resources. read more »

Rosneft Boss Allegedly Gave $2 Million Bribe as ‘Wine’

Igor Sechin, the powerful head of Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft PJSC, passed off a $2 million bribe as a gift of fine wine, according to Alexei Ulyukayev, who’s on trial in the first graft prosecution of a minister under President Vladimir Putin.

Ulyukayev, the former economy minister, in his first substantive comments on the case since his arrest a year ago, denied accepting the money as a bribe and told a Moscow court on Monday that Sechin had set him up after a meeting in Goa, India. He said the Rosneft chief, a close ally of Putin, regularly gave him large gifts, including expensive watches and a model of an oil rig. read more »