Executive Allegedly Paid Bribes to a Russian Official So His Company Could Win Highly Sensitive Nuclear Fuel Transportation Contracts
An indictment against a former co-president of a Maryland-based transportation company that provides services for the transportation of nuclear materials to customers in the United States and abroad, was unsealed today for his alleged role in a scheme that involved the bribery of an official at a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Schenning of the District of Maryland, Principal Deputy Inspector General April G. Stephenson of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General (DOE-OIG) and Assistant Director in Charge Andew W. Vale of the FBI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office made the announcement.
Mark Lambert, 54, of Mount Airy, Maryland, was charged in an 11-count indictment with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of international promotion money laundering. The charges stem from an alleged scheme to bribe Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX.
The case against Lambert is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Theodore D. Chuang of the District of Maryland.
According to the indictment, beginning at least as early as 2009 and continuing until October 2014, Lambert conspired with others at “Transportation Corporation A” to make corrupt and fraudulent bribery and kickback payments to offshore bank accounts associated with shell companies, at the direction of, and for the benefit of, a Russian official, Vadim Mikerin, in order to secure improper business advantages and obtain and retain business with TENEX. In order to effectuate and conceal the corrupt and fraudulent bribe payments, Lambert and others allegedly caused fake invoices to be prepared, purportedly from TENEX to Transportation Corporation A, that described services that were never provided, and then Lambert and others caused Transportation Corporation A to wire the corrupt payments for those purported services to shell companies in Latvia, Cyprus and Switzerland. Lambert and others also allegedly used code words like “lucky figures,” “LF,” “lucky numbers,” and “cake” to describe the payments in emails to the Russian official at his personal email account. The indictment also alleges that Lambert and others caused Transportation Corporation A to overbill TENEX by building the cost of the corrupt payments into their invoices, and TENEX thus overpaid for Transportation Corporation A’s services.
In June 2015, Lambert’s former co-president, Daren Condrey, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA and commit wire fraud, and Vadim Mikerin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering involving violations of the FCPA. Mikerin is currently serving a sentence of 48 months in prison and Condrey is awaiting sentencing. The indictment includes allegations against Lambert based on his role in effectuating the criminal scheme with Condrey, Mikerin, and others.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by DOE-OIG and the FBI. Assistant Chiefs Ephraim Wernick and Christopher J. Cestaro and Trial Attorney Derek J. Ettinger of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys David I. Salem and Michael T. Packard of the District of Maryland, are prosecuting the case.
The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs has provided significant assistance in this matter. The Department also thanks its law enforcement colleagues in Switzerland, Latvia and Cyprus for providing valuable assistance with the investigation and prosecution of the case.