Whether a unit of Fokker Technologies Holding B.V wins approval for its settlement with the U.S. over illegal sales to Iran now depends on a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon has called for a hearing in Washington to review the proposed settlement, an unusual step that signals he has questions about the terms.
Prosecutors intend to support their decision on the $21 million deferred prosecution deal with Fokker Services B.V., a unit of the Pentagon F-35 subcontractor, by arguing that the company voluntarily disclosed its illegal sales of aviation parts and services to Iran.
In a memorandum filed in federal court in Washington July 7, prosecutors said that the Dutch company didn’t deserve the harshest of punishments for supplying aviation services to Iranian customers, including the military, because it voluntarily disclosed the problems in 2010.
Three people with direct knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News that government investigators first learned of wrongdoing by Fokker in late 2007 and early 2008, more than two years before the company’s disclosure. The people asked not to be named because details of the probe are confidential.
The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, which is a party to the settlement, said June 5 that the agreement stemmed from U.S. authorities’ own investigation. The department didn’t mention any self-reporting by the company.
William Miller, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, declined to comment. Marianne Mulder, a spokeswoman for Papendrecht, Netherlands-based Fokker, declined to comment beyond a June 5 statement in which the company said it disclosed the transactions in 2010, took remedial action and cooperated fully with U.S. authorities. Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman and Eugene Cottilli, a spokesman for the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, declined immediate comment.
The Justice Department said in its court filing that there was no U.S. investigation underway at the time Fokker self-reported, saying there was no indication that the company’s disclosure was anything other than voluntary.
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