Frederic Bourke, of accessories firm Dooney & Bourke, was sentenced on Tuesday in a Manhattan District court to one year and one day in prison for his role in a conspiracy to bribe officials in Azerbaijan. Bourke, 63, was convicted for his involvement in violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Travel Act and of making false statements to the FBI. The charges stemmed from his connection to Oily Rock Group Ltd., an investment firm that sought windfall gains from the sale of the state-owned oil company of the former Soviet state Azerbaijan. Prosecutors claimed Bourke invested about $8 million in Oily Rock, which bought government-issued privatization vouchers from citizens of the emerging nation during the mid-Nineties. according to the U.S. Attorney's office, In order to ensure that oil company was private, members of Oily Rock paid millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Azerbaijan.
Bourke himself had been convicted in July after a month long jury trial, but only that he knew of the bribes, not that he was the plot’s originator. He was allowed to remain free on $10 million bail, pending his appeal. The judge decided Bourke was not a flight risk and there were facts in the case that could result in a new trial or reversal. At his sentencing, Bourke was also fined $1 million and ordered to serve three years of supervised release, in addition to his jail time.
Thomas McAndrew, spokesman for Dooney & Bourke, said in a recent interview that Bourke would remain chairman of the Connecticut-based handbag firm he founded with Peter Dooney in 1975. At the time of Bourke’s indictment in 2005, the company claimed his private investments were completely separate from it's business. “Truly this is an anomaly; this is not what we know his character to be,” McAndrew said. “We’re confident he’ll continue to make a positive contribution to society.”
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Article Source: WWD
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