John O'Shea: Energy Exec Acquitted on Mexican Bribery Charges

The executive of a Sugar Land-based company who's been accused of paying bribes to Mexican officials was acquitted without the defense even putting on a case.

John O'Shea, the former general manager of ABB Industries, was acquitted by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes after he said the government had failed to prove its charges.

O'Shea had been accused of paying bribes to officials of Mexico's Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) through a Mexican sales agent, Esimex, in trying to get a contract to build a "smart grid" in the country.

"Deflecting blame for bribery in corruption-ridden countries onto unknowing business executives is both Cervantian and unfair," defense attorney Joel Androphy said. "My hope is that our victory for Mr. O'Shea will encourage others wrongfully accused under the FCPA to fight the charges against them."

"We were prepared to try this case to verdict and show the public through expert testimony and Mr. O'Shea's own testimony that these charges were unfounded and that he is an honest man caught up in a terrible situation," said Sarah Frazier, also of the defense team.

In September 2010, the Department of Justice announced that Switzerland-based ABB Ltd. and two subsidiaries paid $58 million in criminal and civil penalties, disgorgement and interest, and that ABB Inc. pleaded guilty to two Foreign Corrupt Practices Act counts.

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