NYC conviction in Azerbaijan oil bribe case upheld

December 14, 2011 - 10:50 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Connecticut businessman accused of conspiring with others to corrupt the oil privatization process in Azerbaijan.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan says a jury properly convicted Frederic Bourke of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing the Azerbaijani president and other officials. It says his arguments to the contrary had no merit.

Azerbaijan reclaimed its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Prosecutors say Bourke and others tried to illegally purchase the nation's state-owned oil company.

Bourke appealed after he was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and was fined $1 million. America's special Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, testified on Bourke's behalf during the federal trial.