Longest Sentence Ever Imposed for Bribing Foreign Officials

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Ernesto Pérez Balladares, bad news for U.S. businessman

Charles Jumet, former vice president of Ports Engineering Consultants Corp. in Virginia, has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for bribing officials in Panama with $200,000 during the late 1990s. The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Jumet’s sentence was the longest to date that’s been handed down under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.In November, Jumet pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make corrupt payments to foreign officials and lying to investigators.”

Jumet, who once served in an economic development post for Virginia’s Republican Governor George Allen, was convicted of payoffs to high-ranking Panamanian officials, including former President Ernesto Pérez Balladares. The bribery netted Ports Engineering contracts to maintain Panamanian buoys and lighthouses.
In addition to serving 87 months in prison, Jumet will have to pay a $15,000 fine. The former president of Ports Engineering, John Warwick, has also pleaded guilty and will appear for sentencing May 18. Unlike Jumet, he is not charged with lying to investigators.
As for Pérez Balladares, he is currently under house arrest in Panama, having been charged with money laundering.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
United States v. Charles Paul Edward Jumet (U.S. District Court, Eastern Virginia)


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