October 30, 2019

Two individuals plead guilty in global FCPA conspiracy

The United States Department of Justice announced on October 30, 2019, that Cyrus Allen Ahsani and Saman Ahsani pleaded guilty on March 25, 2019, to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  According to the DOJ, Cyrus Ahsani was CEO and Saman Ahsani was COO of a “Monaco-based group of affiliated companies.”  That entity can be identified as Unaoil Group based on public records.  According to the information,  Cyrus and Saman Ahsani conspired to facilitate millions of dollars’ worth of bribes in Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya and Syria in order to secure contracts for Unaoil and various client companies of Unaoil.  The information alleges that employees or executives of more than 25 companies participated in these schemes with Unaoil.

The violations are alleged to have taken place over more than fifteen years, beginning in 1999 and ending in 2016.  In addition to the conspiracy to violate the FCPA, the DOJ stated that Cyrus and Saman Ahsani  concealed the scheme through money laundering and destruction of evidence.  The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in April 2020.   According to DOJ, in August 2018, Steven Hunter, Unaoil’s former business development director of Unaoil, also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA for his role in the bribery scheme.  He is scheduled to be sentenced in March 2020.