On June 15, Joseph Sigelman, former CEO of oil and gas services company PetroTiger, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA in connection with a bribe paid to an employee of Colombia’s state-run oil company in order to win a $45 million oil-services contract. The DOJ dismissed the remaining five charges originally brought against him. Mr. Sigelman’s plea abruptly ended his trial, which was entering its third week in front of a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The DOJ announced the plea after the its key witness, PetroTiger’s former general counsel Gregory Weisman, informed the court that he gave false testimony regarding the terms of his cooperation agreement.
On Tuesday, June 16, Mr. Sigelman was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay $239,000 restitution and a $100,000 fine. The DOJ had requested a sentence of one year in prison under the plea agreement. Mr. Sigelman is the third PetroTiger official to plead guilty in connection with the matter. The government alleged that Mr. Sigelman, Mr. Weisman, and a third co-conspirator, PetroTiger’s former co-CEO Knut Hammarskjold, made at least four payments totaling $333,500 to the Colombian official.
The DOJ’s press release on Mr. Sigelman’s plea agreement noted the cooperation of PetroTiger and self-disclosure of the bribes, stating that “[b]ased on PetroTiger’s voluntary disclosure, cooperation, and remediation, among other factors, [DOJ] declined to prosecute PetroTiger.” This is one of the only times the DOJ has publicly commented on a specific declination given to a company.