PetroTiger executives charged with money laundering and bribery from Colombian transaction

By Christine Duhaime | January 7th, 2014

Two executives of PetroTiger, Ltd., a British Virgin Islands oil and gas company (“PetroTiger“), were charged with money laundering, wire fraud and bribery under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA“) for allegedly bribing foreign public officials to obtain a $39 million contract from Ecopetrol S.A., a state-owned petroleum company in Columbia (“Ecopetrol“), Latin America’s second largest oil company by market value.

According to criminal complaints filed in New Jersey and unsealed on January 6, 2013, the former executives of PetroTiger allegedly paid bribes to officials in Columbia for assistance in securing an oil services contract worth US$39 million and attempted to conceal the bribes through payments to the wife of one official. Part of the alleged conspiracy involved kickbacks to the officers by way of the purchase of another company.

Joseph Sigelman, PetroTiger’s CEO, was charged with: conspiracy to commit money laundering for allegedly transmitting funds to the U.S. to promote the carrying on of an unlawful activity and engaging in a monetary transaction through a financial institution in criminally derived property of value grater than $10,000; using interstate and international commerce corruptly to pay foreign officials for corruption; conspiracy to violate the FCPA; and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was arrested in the Philippines on January 3, 2014. Sigelman was a banker at Goldman Sachs prior to joining PetroTiger and worked in the Whitehall Street Private Equity Funds.

Knut Hammarskjold, PetroTiger’s co-CEO, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to violate the FCPA, using interstate ad international commerce to violate the FCPA, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was arrested in New Jersey on November 20, 2013.

General Counsel of PetroTiger, Greg Weisman, was charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA and pleaded guilty late last year. Weisman is also general counsel of Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Co. and previously worked with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and with Dechert LLP.

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