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Real estate broker and nephew of former UN Secretary-General pleads guilty to FCPA charges

Financial Crimes DOJ FCPA Bribery

Financial Crimes

On January 5, 2018, the Department of Justice announced that a real estate broker and nephew of former UN Secretary-General, pleaded guilty to charges that he tried to bribe a Qatari official in connection with a sale of a high rise building complex in Vietnam. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one count of violating the FCPA before U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos of the Southern District of New York. He was charged with his father, who was an executive at a South Korean construction company, and an arts and fashion blogger in December 2016. 

In his guilty plea, the nephew admitted to joining a conspiracy to make $2.5 million in bribe payments to a Qatari official between February 2014 and May 2015 in an effort to sell the South Korean construction company-owned buildings in Vietnam, which were worth $800 million. The nephew admitted that he andhis father agreed to pay $500,000 to a Qatari official to persuade the official to use the Qatari sovereign wealth fund to purchase the building. The $500,000 was then transferred to the arts and fashion blogger, who posed as an agent for the foreign official, but instead of passing the payment to the foreign official, he double-crossed his codefendants and stole the $500,000. 

Although the scheme involved a South Korean construction company and a Qatari foreign official, the Indictment alleged that the nephew qualified as a “domestic concern” pursuant to 15 USC 78dd-2(h)(1) because he was a lawful permanent resident of the United States and resided in New Jersey at the time. 

The nephew faces up to five years in prison on each count. The blogger previously pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and money laundering for his role in the scheme, and was sentenced to 42 months in prison. The father has been charged, but not yet arrested.

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