Twenty-two executives and employees at suppliers to the military and law enforcement agencies were arrested on the eve of their industry's annual trade show in Las Vegas after a 2 1/2-year undercover sting operation aimed at schemes to bribe a foreign official.
Charged are people at companies in eight US states and executives at companies in the United Kingdom and Israel. Five defendants were identified in federal court in Las Vegas as British citizens. Two others were from Israel, and one was from Peru.
The US Justice Department called the case the largest single investigation and prosecution of individuals in the history of the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars bribery of foreign government officials. It also is the first large-scale use of an undercover operation in enforcing the corrupt practices act.
In a briefing for reporters, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, said there are more than 140 open investigations under the act.