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U.S. Fines Uranium Transport Company For Bribing Russian Executive

Vadim Mikerin, a former Russian nuclear official
Vadim Mikerin, a former Russian nuclear official

A U.S. company has agreed to pay $2 million to settle charges that it bribed a Russian executive to win contracts to ship uranium to the United States, U.S. authorities said on March 13.

Transport Logistics International admitted to paying more than $1.7 million to the Russian executive from 2004 to 2014.

The U.S. Justice Department said it agreed not to prosecute the company in exchange for its cooperation in the investigation.

The settlement is the latest development in a long-running federal probe into corruption in Russia's sale of uranium in the United States.

"Bribery of foreign officials not only distorts markets and undermines democratic institutions," said acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Cronan, "it can also pervert the incentives of those who are in a position to safeguard the public, as it did in this case involving the transportation of nuclear material.”

The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it a crime to bribe overseas officials to win contracts.

The uranium investigation drew attention last year after an informant involved in the probe claimed to have evidence tying the administration of President Barack Obama to Russian influence peddling -- a charge it denied.

For decades, Washington and Moscow had an agreement that converted uranium from Russia’s nuclear stockpiles to civilian grade fuel, which was shipped to the United States for use in civilian power plants.

To win contracts to ship the Russian uranium, TLI executives bribed Vadim Mikerin, a former director of Tenex, a subsidiary of Russia's state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom.

In 2015, a Maryland judge sentenced Mikerin to four years for laundering money connected to the bribes.

In January, U.S. prosecutors unsealed bribery charges against the former co-president of TLI, Mark Lambert, who denies the charges. His former co-president, Daren Condrey, pleaded guilty to charges in the scheme in 2015.

With reporting by Reuters

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