As reported by Reuters, last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia declared a mistrial in the trial of four arms salesmen for alleged bribes under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The defendants, Andrew Bigelow, Pankesh Patel, Lee Tolleson and John Wier, were accused of attempting to bribe two individuals who were posing as representatives of the defense ministry of the African nation of Gabon in order to win a $15 million deal to provide guns, body armor and other equipment. The defendants were alleged to have told the informants that they would add a 20 percent commission to any prices quoted as bribes. The mistrial was declared following a six week trial in which the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict after six different votes.
The sting operation, which involved a staggering 250 FBI agents, resulted in 22 individuals being charged, including a former U.S. Secret Service agent and an executive for U.S. firearm manufacturer Smith & Wesson Holding Co. Department of Justice officials have informed the media that the Department intends to retry the case. Three of the 22 individuals charged as a result of the sting have pled guilty. Trials have been scheduled for the remaining defendants.
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