The conviction of Lindsey Manufacturing Co., two of its executives and a Mexican sales agent marks the first time a company has been convicted at trial of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The defendants were accused of paying bribes to officials at the Mexican state-owned utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad to obtain business from the utility. Lindsey Manufacturing makes emergency restoration systems and other equipment used by utility companies.

The FCPA is expected to an important enforcement tool under the new Dodd-Frank law and similar cases are likely to end up in court. Bribery is a routine practice in many foreign countries, but the U.S. Department of Justice doesn’t view it as benign.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said, “Lindsey Manufacturing is the first company to be tried and convicted on FCPA violations, but it will not be the last. Foreign corruption undermines the rule of law, stifling competition and the health of international markets and American businesses. As this prosecution shows, we are fiercely committed to bringing to justice all the players in these bribery schemes – the executives who conceive of the criminal plans, the people they use to pay the bribes, and the companies that knowingly allow these schemes to flourish. Bribery has real consequences.”

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