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Egbert Koolman, a current resident of Florida and former official at the Aruban state-owned telecommunications company Servicio di Telecommunicacion di Aruba N.V. (Setar), has recently plead guilty in a money laundering and bribery scheme that also led to guilty pleas for FCPA violations from others involved in the scheme.

Between 2005 and 2016, while Product Manager at state-owned Setar, Koolman collected a reported US $1.3 million in bribe payments in exchange for his influence over profitable contracts awarded by Setar.  Under Koolman, Setar reportedly issued approximately US $45 million worth of phone contracts to a handful of vendors, some of which issued refurbished mobile phones that were either faulty or infected with pornography.

Another associate in the scheme, Lawrence W. Parker, Jr. of Miami pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud. He admitted to being part of a conspiracy to bribe an official in exchange for telecomunications contracts.

Setar has released public statements that Koolman was fired in 2016 after the corrupt scheme was discovered as a result of documents released with the Panama Papers.  It has become apparent that not only did the bribery scheme involve illicit wire transfers in the US, Aruba, and Panama that violated anti-corruption regulations connected with the FCPA, Koolman also sold confidential information from Setar to certain vendors.

It is important to be aware that despite regulations and provisions designed to deter corruption and money laundering, Koolman was able to carry-out this scheme for over a decade. Without effective FCPA compliance and due diligence programs, companies expose themselves to unnecessary and preventable risks. If you have questions about your company’s compliance program, need help establishing internal controls, or need due diligence on current or potential business partners, contact Smith Brandon International.

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