Calif. company indicted on foreign bribery charges

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2010 7:36 PM
Calif. company indicted on foreign bribery charges

A Southern California company and two of its executives were indicted Thursday on conspiracy charges, accused of bribing government officials at Mexico's state-owned utility in exchange for obtaining lucrative contracts.

Keith Lindsey, president of Lindsey Manufacturing Co., and Steve Lee, were each charged with eight counts, including conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and money laundering. If convicted, they each face more than 50 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors say the Azusa-based company paid more than $5 million to an intermediary that was used to buy a Mexican official a yacht called the "Dream Seeker" for $1.8 million and a Ferrari for nearly $300,000. The official's name is listed as "N.M." in court documents.

Nestor Moreno recently resigned as director of operations for Mexico's national electric utility, the Federal Electricity Commission. The country's federal attorney general's office has opened an investigation against him and confiscated the yacht. Moreno has denied all the allegations against him.

Attorneys for Lindsey and Lee said their clients had no knowledge of improper payments.

Previously indicted were Enrique Aguilar Noriega and his wife Angela Aguilar, who are accused of being the intermediary between Lindsey Manufacturing and the Mexican officials to facilitate the alleged bribes.

Prosecutors contend Lindsey and Lee, who served as the company's vice president and chief financial officer, were aware that commissions paid to Enrique Aguilar between 2002 and 2009 would go toward paying bribes to Mexican officials in exchange for the utility awarding contracts to Lindsey Manufacturing.

The company designs and manufactures emergency restoration systems for power transmission lines.

The Aguilars also are accused of paying more than $170,000 worth of Moreno's credit card bills and sent about $600,000 to relatives of another Mexican official.