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Monday, August 19, 2013

Indian-Canadian convicted of trying to bribe Air India officials

Ottawa -- An India-born Canadian high-tech executive has been convicted of conspiring to bribe Air India officials and an Indian cabinet minister in a failed bid to land a lucrative contract for a security system.

Canadian citizen Nazir Karigar is the first person convicted under Canada's foreign anti-corruption law for his role in a conspiracy to bribe Indian officials between June 2005 and January 2008 to win a contract for a facial recognition security system, according to media reports.
 
Judge Charles Hackland on August 15 came to the "inescapable conclusion" that Karigar, 65, was "an active and knowledgeable part of a conspiracy to offer bribes to Air India officials to obtain the Air India contract", according to Ottawa Sun.
 
Karigar, who had pleaded not guilty to the corruption charge at the outset of his trial in September 2012, faces up to 14 years in prison. Still out on bail, he will return to the court next month to set a date for sentencing.
 
Three corporations have previously pleaded guilty under laws on the books since 1999.
 
Karigar worked for the Ottawa security company CryptoMetrics, which also operates out of the US and an office was set up in Mumbai during the bid-rigging conspiracy, court heard during the trial.
 
He admitted to the scheme, which ran through 2007, in an e-mail he later sent to the US Department of Justice signed "Buddy".
 
Cryptometrics, Karigar was quoted as saying, paid $200,000 to ensure there would be only two bids - the second an inflated one by a company he controlled. Then it paid $250,000 for then-minister of aviation Praful Patel to "bless" the system.
 
"What about my immunity," he asks in a 2008 e-mail.
 
There's no evidence of what became of the cash after it went from Cryptometrics to Karigar or whether it was ever offered or paid to any official, Hackland noted, according to the Canadian daily.
 
An official with the Canadian consulate in Mumbai testified she was "shocked" when Karigar told her during a 2007 meeting that Cryptometrics had paid a bribe to the minister and knew he'd received it.
 
She warned Karigar and the company's chief operating officer that they could be prosecuted, the Sun reported.
 
IANS

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