Joseph Sigelman, a former co-chief executive officer of PetroTiger Ltd., pleaded not guilty to charges that he bribed an official at Colombia’s state-controlled oil company to secure a $39.6 million contract.
Sigelman entered his plea today in federal court in Camden, New Jersey. U.S. District Judge Joseph Irenas set a trial for July 28, according to court records. In court, the judge said the trial would start Oct. 6, according to Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. Sigelman, 43, was indicted May 9 on charges of conspiracy, money laundering and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The indictment came amid a U.S. crackdown on foreign bribery, with the government using the FCPA, which bars payment of money or giving anything of value to foreign officials to obtain or retain business. PetroTiger is a British Virgin Islands oil and gas company with subsidiaries and offices in Colombia and New Jersey.
PetroTiger’s former co-CEO, Knut Hammarskjold, and former general counsel, Gregory Weisman, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud. Sigelman, Hammarskjold and Weisman also took part in a kickback scheme “at the expense of their investing partners, and to pay bribes to a foreign official in order to secure approval for a lucrative oil services contract,” according to the indictment.
Sigelman’s attorneys Patrick J. Egan and William Burck didn’t immediately return phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.
PetroTiger voluntarily brought the case to the Justice Department’s attention and is cooperating with the investigation, the U.S. said.
The case is U.S. v. Sigelman, 14-cr-263, District of New Jersey (Camden).
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