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June 30, 09

NEWS / Former Executive of Philadelphia Company Pleads Guilty to Paying Bribes to Vietnamese Officials


A former executive of Philadelphia-based Nexus Technologies Inc. pleaded guilty today in connection with his participation in a conspiracy to bribe Vietnamese government officials in exchange for lucrative contracts to supply equipment and technology to Vietnamese government agencies, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Joseph T. Lukas, 60, a resident of New Jersey, was a partner in Nexus Technologies Inc. until 2005. According to court documents, Nexus Technologies Inc. was a privately owned export company that identified U.S. vendors for contracts opened for bid by the Vietnamese government to purchase a wide variety of equipment and technology, including underwater mapping equipment, bomb containment equipment, helicopter parts, chemical detectors, satellite communication parts and air tracking systems. Lukas was responsible for overseeing the negotiation of contracts with suppliers in the United States.

In connection with his guilty plea, Lukas admitted that from 1999 to 2005, he and other employees of Nexus Technologies Inc. agreed to pay, and knowingly paid, bribes to Vietnamese government officials in exchange for contracts with the agencies for which the officials worked. The bribes were falsely described as "commissions" in the companyís records.

Lucas was arrested on Sept. 5, 2008, after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on one count of conspiracy to bribe Vietnamese public officials in violation of the FCPA and one substantive count of violating the FCPA. Lukas was indicted on Sept. 4, 2008, along with the company and alleged co-conspirators Nam Nguyen, Kim Nguyen and An Nguyen. Cases are still pending against the remaining defendants and the company.

At sentencing, scheduled for April 6, 2010, Lukas faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorney Kathleen M. Hamann of the Criminal Divisionís Fraud Section. The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement.

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