Former Lockheed Official Pleads Guilty to Bribery
ATLANTA (AP) _ A former Lockheed Corp. executive pleaded guilty on Monday to federal charges of bribing an Egyptian official to help close the sale of three C-130 aircraft.
Prosecutors contend Lockheed paid more than $1.2 million to Dr. Leila I. Takla, a member of the Egyptian Parliament, to influence the Egyptian government to buy the three aircraft for $79 million in 1989. Lockheed, which has since merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin Corp., made $12.4 million off the deal.
Suleiman A. Nassar was Lockheed’s vice president of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa from 1987 to 1990 and ``is the person who our evidence indicates is the main perpetrator in this matter,″ said assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Weinstein. ``He fabricated the critical payment documents.″
``He also met with Takla in April ’89, to get what in essence was insider information that helped Lockheed to go back and close the deal,″ Weinstein said.
Nassar, 58, of Geneva, Switzerland, could be fined $250,000, and sentenced to five years in prison and three years’ supervised release. But under the plea agreement the prosecution is recommending a $125,000 fine and a prison term on the low end of the federal guidelines for bribery in excess of $1 million.
The fine would be paid before Nassar’s U.S. assets of about $867,000 are unfrozen by the court, Weinstein said.
In addition, the four months Nassar served in a Syrian prison would be deducted from his United States sentence. Sentencing was set for Oct. 5.
Lockheed, based in Calabasas, Calif., originally was charged in an eight-count indictment. It pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy and U.S. District Judge Marvin H. Shoob fined the company $24.8 million, double its profit on the sale, which was funded in part by the U.S. Defense Department.
In addition, Allen R. Love, a mid-level executive in Lockheed’s Marietta marketing group, pleaded guilty in January to his role in the conspiracy.
Nassar and the others were indicted June 21, 1994, and Nassar agreed to appear in court in Atlanta June 28. But Nassar fled to his native Syria, which has no extradition treaty with the United States. Syrian authorities filed their own charges against him and arrested him. After negotiations between the two governments, Nassar agreed to leave the country voluntarily.