KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A former coal company executive from Knoxville has been accused of engaging in an international bribery and money laundering scheme between late 2016 and early 2020.
Charles Hunter Hobson, 46, of Knoxville, was arrested on charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, laundering funds, and receiving kickbacks as part of an alleged scheme to pay bribes to Egyptian government officials in connection with contracts with an Egyptian state-owned and state-controlled company, Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals.
For some time between 2016 and 2020, Hobson was the Vice President of a coal company in Pennsylvania and was responsible for the company’s business relationship with Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals. Hobson and others, including his company’s sales intermediary, allegedly paid bribes to Al Nasr officials in Egypt to obtain $143 million in coal contracts.
The Department of Justice said to start the bribery scheme, Hobson and others caused the company to pay commissions to the sales intermediary, who passed on bribes to Al Nasr officials in exchange for the coal contracts. The corrupt commission payments were transferred from a bank account in the United States to a bank account in the United Arab Emirates according to the DOJ. The indictment also alleges Hobson conspired to secretly receive a portion of the commissions paid as kickbacks.
Overall, Hobson is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, two counts of violating the FCPA, one count of conspiracy to launder money, two counts of money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
For each of the bribery conspiracy and bribery charges, he faces up to five years in prison and for each of the money laundering conspiracy, money laundering, and wire fraud charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
The FBI’s International Corruption Unit in Washington, D.C., and the Washington Field Office are investigating the case.