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Former Embraer Executive Receives Non-Incarceratory and Non-Probationary Sentence in Airplane Bribery Scheme

December 18, 2018

On December 12, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Arnold & Porter obtained a non-incarceratory sentence for former Embraer executive Colin Steven, who provided extensive assistance to a five-year Department of Justice investigation into a corporate bribery scheme related to a $93 million sale of airplanes to a Saudi Arabian oil company. Rewarding Steven for his exemplary and timely cooperation and complete acceptance of responsibility, the court ordered only forfeiture and a small fine and also determined that no probation was necessary.

In October 2016, Embraer entered into a $107 million deferred prosecution agreement related to corrupt corporate practices in the Dominican Republic, India, Mozambique, and Saudi Arabia. Embraer also reached settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Brazilian authorities, agreeing to pay more than $80 million in disgorgement and more than $14 million in prejudgment interest to the SEC.

Steven is a British citizen who lives in the United Arab Emirates, a country with which the US does not have an extradition treaty, and he voluntarily submitted to US jurisdiction. In support of its lenient ruling of no jail and no probation, Judge Alison Nathan cited Steven's timely and substantial assistance to both the company's and the government's investigations, the "avalanche" of 56 character letters of strong support obtained from friends and family, and his acceptance of full responsibility for his conduct.

In the course of evaluating key factors relevant to sentencing, the Court questioned the prosecutor about the culpability of unindicted co-conspirators, prompting the prosecutor to agree that there are other culpable individuals who have not been charged.

The Arnold & Porter White Collar Defense team included John Nassikas, Andrew Bauer, Laura Lester, Brittany McClure, and Jesse Feitel. On behalf of the Arnold & Porter defense team, Nassikas notes, "We are happy this long cooperative process is over, and we are thankful that Colin Steven can return home to his family and his bright future."

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