New York Federal Criminal Practice Blog
July 14, 2009

SDNY Judge Denies Motion for Judgment of Acquittal in FCPA Prosecution

In another notable decision from the FCPA prosecution of Frederic Bourke that just ended in conviction last Friday (see also here and here), SDNY Judge Scheindlin denied Bourke's motion for a judgment of acquittal in United States v. Kozeny, 2009 WL 1940897 (S.D.N.Y. July 6, 2009).  

Of particular note is her rejection of Bourke's challenge to his money laundering conspiracy conviction as time-barred because his last transfer of funds outside the U.S. occurred outside the relevant statute of limitations period.  Quoting the Second Circuit's decision in United States v. Mennuti, 679 F.2d 1032 (2d Cir. 1982), the court pointed out that "where the object of the conspiracy is economic, the conspiracy 'continues until the conspirators receive their anticipated economic benefits.'" Here, "a reasonable jury could infer that the conspiracy had not terminated by [the date of the last payment], because the privatization [of Azerbaijan's state oil company] had not occurred at that time and no returns had been made on the investments."  

Bourke's lawyers argued that "tying the money laundering conspiracy to the underlying substantive violation 'would render the statute of limitations essentially indeterminate.'"  Judge Scheindlin disagreed. "That is not the case here. It would be reasonable to conclude that the conspiracy ended when Kozeny and his co-conspirators abandoned their attempts at encouraging the privatization of SOCAR or when they ceased paying bribes to Azeri officials."

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