On March 16, 2010, Nexus Technologies Inc., a Philadelphia based export company, and three of its employees pleaded guilty to bribing Vietnamese government officials in exchange for lucrative contracts to supply equipment and technology to the Vietnamese government. Nexus pleaded guilty to conspiracy, money laundering and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Travel Act. Nam and An Nguyen each pleaded guilty to conspiracy, money laundering and substantive violations of the FCPA and Travel Act. Kim Nguyen pleaded guilty to conspiracy, a substantive FCPA violation, and money laundering. A former Nexus partner, Joseph T. Lukas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and to violating the FCPA on June 29, 2009. See our previous post for more detail.
According to the superseding indictment, Nexus is 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. Nexus purchased items from U.S. companies for customers in Vietnam, including various Vietnamese government agencies. The items they exported included underwater mapping equipment, bomb containment equipment, helicopter parts, chemical detectors, satellite communication parts, and air tracking systems. Nam Nguyen, the President and founder of Nexus, negotiated the contracts and bribes with the Vietnamese government agencies. Kim Nguyen, the 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 knowingly paid bribes in excess of $250,000 to Vietnamese government officials in exchange for contracts with Vietnamese agencies and companies. The bribes were falsely described as “commissions” in the company’s records. Nexus specifically acknowledged that, as a company, it operated primarily through criminal means and agreed to cease operations as a condition of the guilty plea.
Sentencing for Nexus and the Nguyens is 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.