On July 8, 2021, the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas sentenced Charles Quintard Beech, III, an owner of multiple energy companies in Texas, to 12 months in prison and a $10,000 fine for his participation in a scheme to bribe employees of Venezuela’s state-owned and controlled energy company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) in order to secure contracts and obtain other business advantages. Beech was also required to forfeit $833,452. Beech pleaded guilty in 2017 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Specifically, according to the Information to which Beech pled, from 2011 to at least 2012, Beech and his co-conspirators bribed multiple PDVSA officials in order to, among other things, “win PDVSA purchase orders;” receive inside information on PDVSA’s bidding processes; and have his companies placed on bidding panels for PDVSA projects. In an attempt to conceal the source and nature of the corrupt payments, Beech had the bribe funds wired from his company’s bank accounts to accounts in the name of a designated relative of a PDVSA official or to designated entities. One of the individuals Beech bribed was Alfonzo Eliezer Gravina Munoz, a former PDVSA procurement employee, who previously pled guilty to conspiring to launder bribes, making false statements on a tax return, and obstructing the government’s investigation. Munoz was sentenced to 70 months in prison in February 2020.