Yesterday the Department of Justice (along with the FBI, IRS and SEC) made public an investigation of allegations of bribes paid by a former Sugar Land businessman to top officials with Mexico’s nation electric grid operator.
As we wrote:
John Joseph O’Shea, 57, of Pleasanton, Calif., was charged in an 18-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Houston last week. He faces charges including conspiracy, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, money laundering and falsifying records.
According to the indictment, O’Shea and a Mexico City businessman, Fernando Maya Basurto, 47, conspired to funnel up to $900,000 in 2004 to four top officials with the Comisión Federal de Electricidad, Mexico’s grid operator.
O’Shea’s former employer, Switzerland-based ABB Group, doesn’t appear in the database of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations kept by TRACE International (at least for Mexican issues), but it appears to have brought the issue to the attention of investigators and is cooperating.
TRACE President Alexandra Wrage e-mailed from the road, said she didn’t have with her statistics “on all inbound (demand-side) bribery in Mexico, but there have been some big scandals that resulted in … nothing at all.”
But as a member of the OECD Mexico is required to criminalize international bribery in accordance with the OECD Convention, Wrage said.
“In most countries with high levels of corruption, only the little guys are ever prosecuted. When bribery is rampant, you can usually buy the police, the judges … all the way up to the top,” Wrage said.