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  1. #1
    \(^.^)/ Jennifer's Avatar
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    Default Bourke loses bid for retrial in bribery case

    Bourke loses bid for retrial in bribery case: Handbag-maker co-founder faces maximum 10-year prison sentence


    Frederic Bourke, co-founder of handbag maker Dooney & Bourke in Norwalk, lost a bid for a retrial after his July conviction for conspiring to bribe government leaders in Azerbaijan in a 1998 oil deal.

    U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in New York, who presided over the trial and will sentence Bourke next month, on Tuesday denied his request for a new trial. Bourke, 63, faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence under the law. Scheindlin said previously that she won't impose such a harsh term.

    "There was ample circumstantial evidence that Bourke had actual knowledge of the object of the conspiracy," the judge wrote in Tuesday's opinion. "There is also substantial direct evidence of Bourke's knowledge."

    Bourke was convicted after a monthlong trial that included testimony by ex-U.S. Sen. George Mitchell. Bourke conspired with Czech expatriate Viktor Kozeny to bribe Azerbaijan leaders including former President Heidar Aliyev to spur the sale of the state-owned oil company, the jury found.

    The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act outlaws payments to non-U.S. officials in return for business.

    Bourke's lawyer, Harold Haddon, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

    Prosecutors told jurors that Bourke invested with Kozeny knowing he gave Azeri leaders millions of dollars in cash and a two-thirds interest in a venture Kozeny formed to buy the state oil company, known as Socar. Bourke didn't personally pay bribes, prosecutors said.

    "A defendant can be convicted of conspiracy even if the object of the conspiracy -- in this case, the making of corrupt payments in return for the privatization of SOCAR -- is never fully consummated," Scheindlin wrote.

    Scheindlin on Wednesday turned aside Bourke's arguments that there was insufficient evidence to convict, that her instructions to jurors were improper, and that she wrongfully excluded evidence that would have helped Bourke. One of Bourke's arguments was that the judge wrongly told jurors they may convict if they found that Bourke intentionally avoided learning of the bribes.

    "There was ample evidence that Bourke was aware of a high probability that the payments were illegal and deliberately avoided confirming this fact," the judge said.

    Bourke, who was once married to a member of the Ford family of automakers, has said he would appeal the conviction and has asked to remain free pending the outcome of his appeal. He will be sentenced Nov. 10.

    Bourke, a Greenwich entrepreneur who successfully launched home-building, accessory and biotechnology startups, denied knowing of the bribes. His lawyers said Kozeny stole $180 million from Bourke and other investors including the hedge fund Omega Advisors Inc. and insurer American International Group. A Bourke vehicle invested $8 million in the deal.

    Mitchell, 76, a special U.S. Middle East envoy, a former senator from Maine and a friend of Bourke, testified as a defense witness. Mitchell, brought into the deal by Bourke as a $200,000 investor, said he was unaware of the bribes even after meeting with Aliyev.

    Azerbaijan, a former Soviet Republic on the Caspian Sea, never sold Socar, wiping out the investment.

    Kozeny, who was also charged, successfully has fought extradition from the Bahamas, where he lives. He admits bribing Azeri leaders, denies stealing from his investors and says they knew their money was used for payoffs. He says the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act doesn't apply to him.

    Bourke sentenced next month in bribery case

  2. #2
    A little eccentric warhols__muse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourke loses bid for retrial in bribery case

    That's crazy!
    If love is the answer, what is the question?

  3. #3
    *The TBF Elite* FedUp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourke loses bid for retrial in bribery case

    WOW!! why are people never happy with what they have achieved??
    "You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have."

  4. #4
    \(^.^)/ Jennifer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bourke loses bid for retrial in bribery case

    Oh I know isn't it so weird. It mostlikely wont change anything about the DB brand, but at the same time it's so interesting.... it's Frederic Bourke

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