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Former Bolivian official sentenced for bribery

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Former Bolivian Minister of Government Sentenced for Bribery Conspiracy

The former Bolivian Minister of Government was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for conspiracy to launder bribes he received in exchange for corruptly helping a U.S. company win a lucrative contract from the Bolivian government.

Arturo Carlos Murillo Prijic, 58, of Bolivia, pleaded guilty on Oct. 20, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to court documents, Murillo received at least $532,000 in bribe payments from a Florida-based company in exchange for helping that company secure an approximately $5.6 million contract in 2019 to provide tear gas and other non-lethal equipment to the Bolivian Ministry of Defense. Murillo and his co-conspirators laundered the proceeds of the bribery scheme through the U.S. financial system, including bank accounts in Miami. Murillo received approximately $130,000 in cash bribe payments at a family member’s home in Miami. 

Murillo’s co-conspirators – Sergio Rodrigo Mendez Mendizabal, Luis Berkman, Bryan Berkman, and Philip Lichtenfeld – previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the same scheme and were each sentenced in June 2022.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida, and Special Agent in Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Buckley of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami Field Office made the announcement.

HSI’s Miami Field Office (Fort Lauderdale Unit) investigated the case. 

Trial Attorney Jil Simon and Assistant Chief Gerald M. Moody Jr. of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eli S. Rubin for the Southern District of Florida prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gabrielle Charest-Turken handled asset forfeiture.

The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) matters. Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.

U.S. Department of Justice Press Release

Link:

DOJ Press Release

Categories: Anti-Corruption Bribery Department of Justice (DOJ) Updates Enforcement Actions Incarceration/Prison Sentences

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