I say this is a set up because Amaro Goncalves of Smith and Wesson and 20 other people were the target of a sting that almost any multinational corporation would have fallen into when doing business overseas. The question I have is why legal arms manufacturers are being targeted by the F.B.I. while Militant Islam is increasing it’s activity here and abroad?
WASHINGTON, Jan 19 (Reuters) – An executive of Smith & Wesson (SWHC.O) and 21 others have been charged with violating U.S. bribery laws after an undercover sting in which federal agents posed as arms-buying representatives of an African defense minister.
The defendants, including a senior Smith & Wesson sales official Amaro Goncalves, were accused of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, and conspiracy to commit money laundering tied to the sale of guns, body armor and other law enforcement equipment.
The FCPA prohibits the payment of bribes to foreign officials in order to secure business contracts.
Among those charged was the chief executive of Protective Products of America Inc (PPA.TO), R. Patrick Caldwell, who previously worked for the U.S. Secret Service for 27 years and was in charge of the division for the vice president’s protection. A spokesman for the service declined to say when Caldwell left the agency.
An attempt to reach Protective Products was not successful. Protective Products filed for bankruptcy protection last week and sought approval to be acquired by an affiliate of the private investment firm Sun Capital Partners Inc.
As part of the FBI sting operation, an unidentified business associate who was a former executive for an arms manufacturer arranged a meeting between the arms sales representatives and undercover FBI agents who posed as representatives of an African country’s minister of defense.
The agents told the sales representatives that in order to win a contract, they had to add a 20 percent “commission” to price quotes, half of which would go to the purported minister of defense and the rest would be split between the others.
In the case of the Smith & Wesson executive, Goncalves gave price quotes for two sales, a small one of 25 guns and a larger one with 1,800 pistols. He gave two price quotes for the transactions, including one that had its price inflated by 20 percent, the Justice Department said.
The two-and-a-half-year-long investigation involved 250 FBI agents, according to Mark Mendelsohn, deputy chief of the Justice Department’s fraud division. In connection with the indictments, 150 agents executed 14 search warrants across the country and British police executed another seven, Justice Department officials said.
Three of the defendants worked for unnamed British companies; another worked for an unnamed Israeli company, according to the indictments. The defendants sought to obtain contracts for the sale of products ranging from grenade and tear gas launchers to pistols, ammunition and explosive detection kits.
Breuer said the investigation was the largest action ever undertaken by the Justice Department against individuals in an FCPA case. He also said it marked the department’s first large-scale use of undercover techniques in an FCPA investigation.
That’s a lot of resources to trip up an American gun maker, some military equipment manufacturers from England and a Israeli arms company. Odd that no communist nations seem to be involved. Even more odd is that these companies will be supplying the enemies of Communists and Islamists in a less robust fashion now that they’ve been hauled into court when Isamofascism is gaining ground in several countries. Just an observation.
The American government gives billions in “aid” to oil rich countries like Saudi Arabia, aid they don’t need but is in fact a Jizya meant to make it easier for American interest in that part of the world. When dealing with third world nations corruption is part of the price of doing business. Everyone knows that but the government wasted the time of at least 250 F.B.I. agents while Muslim terrorists were sneaking underwear filled with explosives onto airplanes.
Are these the priorities we want the feds to have?
h/t The Firearm Blog