Four businessmen and two foreign officials plead guilty to paying bribes to Mexican aviation officials to get aircraft maintenance and repair contracts with government-owned, officials announced Tuesday.
“The six convictions announced today demonstrate the department’s commitment to holding accountable those who further official corruption through bribery,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell. “These convictions are the result of a coordinated effort by prosecutors and agents who built the cases brick by brick using traditional law enforcement techniques.”
Charges were unsealed against six individuals, all of whom have pleaded guilty.
Douglas Ray, 55, of Magnolia, Texas, and Victor Hugo Valdez Pinon, 54, a citizen of Mexico, plead guilty on Oct. 28 and Oct. 26, 2016, respectively, to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Kamta Ramnarine, 69, and Daniel Perez, 69, both of Brownsville, Texas, both pleaded guilty on Nov. 2, 2016, to one count of conspiring to violate federal law.
Ramnarine and Perez are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 30. Ray and Valdez Pinon are scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 23.
Ernesto Hernandez Montemayor, 55, and Ramiro Ascencio Nevarez, 58, both of whom are citizens of Mexico and were previous officials of Mexican state government entities, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Hernandez Montemayor pleaded guilty before Judge Bennett on Dec. 9, 2015, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 12. Nevarez plead guilty on March 4, 2016. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison on May 27, 2016.
In total, Ray, Valdez Pinon, Ramnarine, Perez and their co-conspirators paid more than $2 million in bribes to Mexican officials, including Hernandez Montemayor and Nevarez.
Here are the facts surroung this case:
According to the defendants’ plea agreements, between 2006 and 2016, Ray conspired with Valdez and others to bribe Mexican officials.
The defendants and their co-conspirators, who owned or were associated with companies in the U.S. that provided aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul and related services to customers from the United States and Mexico, paid the bribes in order to secure parts and servicing contracts with Mexican government-owned customers.
Ray agreed to pay bribes to at least seven different foreign officials, including Hernandez Montemayor, sometimes paying the bribes via wire transfer and checks to accounts in the U.S. controlled by the officials.
As part of his guilty plea, Hernandez Montemayor admitted that while employed by a Mexican state government, he accepted bribes from Ray, Ramnarine, Perez and others in exchange for taking certain actions to assist companies they owned in winning business with Hernandez Montemayor’s state government employer.
Hernandez Montemayor also admitted that he conspired with Ray, Ramnarine, Perez and others to launder the proceeds of the bribery scheme.
Ramnarine and Perez admitted that, in addition to bribing Hernandez Montemayor, they also conspired to pay bribes to several other foreign officials between 2007 and 2015 to ensure that their Brownsville-based company won aircraft parts and services contracts with Mexican government-owned customers.
As part of his guilty plea, Nevarez admitted that while employed by a Mexican public university, he accepted bribes from Ramnarine and Perez in exchange for taking certain actions to assist their company in winning business with the university.
Nevarez also admitted that he conspired with Ramnarine, Perez and others to launder the proceeds of the bribery scheme.
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