On June 15, 2015, the DOJ announced that it will not prosecute PetroTiger Ltd., a British Virgin Island oil and gas company operating in Colombia, in connection with FCPA violations that have resulted in guilty pleas from several of the company’s top executives. In its statement, the DOJ announced that, due to PetroTiger’s “voluntary disclosure, cooperation, and remediation,” it would not seek to prosecute the company.
Most recently, Joseph Sigelman, the co-founder and former CEO of PetroTiger, became the company’s third executive to plead guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA. Sigelman entered his plea after two weeks at trial in which the DOJ presented emails, documents and witness testimony showing that Sigelman and two other executives split kickbacks while authorizing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribe payments to a Colombian official in order to secure a $39 million contract with Ecopetrol S.A., the state-controlled Colombian oil company. Both of Sigelman’s alleged co-conspirators—the company’s former general counsel and the company’s co-founder—previously plead guilty to related criminal charges and were scheduled to testify at the trial.
As part of Sigelman’s plea deal, the DOJ dropped additional charges against Sigelman, including counts of money laundering and wire fraud related to the kickback scheme. Sigelman was sentenced to probation rather than jail time and will pay approximately $239,000 in disgorgement, in addition to a court-imposed fine.