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Posted: 1/24/2010 5:16:31 AM EDT
I would like to take just a few moments to thank everyone for their support here on AR15.com as well as offline. I am one of the 22 arrested just prior to Shot Show in the FBI sting.

Due to the ongoing nature of everything please understand if we cannot be specific about anything at this point nor answer detailed questions about the case.

The TRUTH about what happened.
The FBI employed a former 17 year Armor Holdings employee and company Vice President named Richard Bistrong (you can read about him here) to inject himself into the industry, become a PAID CONSULTANT FOR many companies (yes, he was their employee then at this point in many cases) and continue this pattern over approximately 2 years. He had been apparently caught and just plead guilty in the past day to providing $4.4 million in bribes over 5-6 years to foreign government officials. His ex-wife is Ambassador Nancy Soderberg and while it appears she was doing her thing in our government and with the UN, he had been working behind the scenes in the UN bribing people and doing his illegal contracting.

After getting busted and working his deal with DOJ and FBI, Mr. Bistrong was released to establish himself as a valued consultant and was introduced around the industry over and over, meeting new people along the way. The truth is he had been fired from Armor Holdings yet during all of the due diligence process every defense export industry company does prior to working with a new entity, even though Armor Holdings and the USG obviously knew he was tainted, they did nothing to put him on any of the Denied Persons or Debarred Persons lists which would have immediately alerted industry to a potential problem, and the country in question is also not on the embargoed countries list as of this writing. While I cannot speak for anyone else, I know we are rigorous in our vetting process and compliance goals that we actually post export law and all 7 debarred persons lists on our website and have since October of 2007! See here This is a guy who injected himself so far into lives that he dined at their homes, was invited to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, played with their children, and much much more.

Over the course of the next 2 years, YES, 2 YEARS, Mr. Bistrong set up his friends, former collegues and employers on behalf of the FBI and the allegations leave a whole lot out that happened, and add in things that didn't happen. Obviously what everyone sees in the press is what DOJ wants them to see and the timing of this was to grandstand and make a big publicity splash at Shot Show so "would-be FCPA violators should stop and ponder whether the person they are trying to bribe might really be a federal agent.” according to the DOJ press release immediately after the arrests. Read Here

Your government will go to extraordinary lengths is all I can say, and I cannot stress enough how much we've learned over the past week as to the extent they are willing to go for headlines and the lives they are willing to destroy in that endeavor. Obviously we have years of dealing with law enforcement agencies, officers, military both foreign and domestic and have absolutely nothing but the highest regard for them. This is about a few, not the whole.

What is essentially happening is this. Literally a few words taken out of context and twisted.

If I were to accuse someone by saying...... "this guy is crazy, he said he was going to "take arms to sleep" " it would have one meaning, however in the context in which it really was intended, it would be readily apparent that when William Shakespeare wrote it in Hamlet he meant something entirely different :

To be or not to be – that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep


I would ask that if ANYONE has any credible information regarding this case no matter how small it might seem, any prior contacts with Mr. Bistrong on any level, law enforcement involved with the case who witnessed things they know weren't right, proper or correct, or first hand knowledge about the case in any way please contact us via PM.

Stay vigilant and question everything.

Again, I thank everyone for the incredible support.
A. Bigelow
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 5:29:01 AM EDT
Thanks for the info.

I find it hypocritical to say the least that the Democratic party and our President bribed a Nebraska senator with tens, if not potentially hundreds, of millions of dollar or our (taxpayer) money to vote on a policy that will cost us trillions of dollars. Why aren't our President and all of these Senators being impeached! I find this crime of our politicians infinitely more ethically and financially corrupt than the firearms dealing to benefit a company with funds from a foreign country.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 5:32:31 AM EDT

That's a rough situation for you. Good luck untangling yourself from this mess. If it's handled anything lke the Cav Arms idiocy, then I fear you will be tangled up for a long, long time.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 5:40:36 AM EDT
Will keep tabs.


GM
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 5:42:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By nevermiss:
Thanks for the info.

I find it hypocritical to say the least that the Democratic party and our President bribed a Nebraska senator with tens, if not potentially hundreds, of millions of dollar or our (taxpayer) money to vote on a policy that will cost us trillions of dollars. Why aren't our President and all of these Senators being impeached! I find this crime of our politicians infinitely more ethically and financially corrupt than the firearms dealing to benefit a company with funds from a foreign country.


+1 - This for sure.

New York Times Version:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/business/21sting.html

January 21, 2010
F.B.I. Charges Arms Sellers With Foreign Bribes
By DIANA B. HENRIQUES

Sometimes the proposition was delivered in a quiet corner of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami. Sometimes the setting was the elegant Ritz-Carlton Hotel, a few blocks from the White House.

The topic might be grenade launchers, rifles, handguns, ammunition or bulletproof vests — components of the basic Warlord Starter Kit.

But the question put to a succession of arms industry executives last May was always the same: Would you pay bribes to get a piece of a $15 million contract to equip the presidential guard of an African country?

According to the Justice Department, almost two dozen executives said yes, put it in writing and wrote checks — without realizing that the African officials getting the bribes were actually undercover F.B.I. agents.

The play-acting ended on Tuesday, when 22 top-level executives, including a senior sales executive at Smith & Wesson, were arrested in what Justice Department officials called the first undercover sting ever aimed at violations of the federal ban on corporate bribes paid to get foreign business.

Even in its relatively quiet disclosure of the cases on Tuesday, the Justice Department was careful to withhold any details that might identify or endanger the undercover team, saying that the investigation was continuing.

The case is the biggest prosecution of individuals for foreign corporate bribery ever pursued by the Justice Department. The 16 indictments in the case are also the early fruits of a new initiative for the Justice Department, Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general for the criminal division, said in an interview on Wednesday.

“This is the first time we’ve used the technique of an undercover operation in a case involving foreign corporate bribery,” Mr. Breuer said. “The message is that we are going to bring all the innovations of our organized crime and drug war cases to the fight against white-collar criminals.”

All of the defendants work at, or run, small companies that supply the staples of military and law enforcement life everywhere — small arms, uniforms, bullets — and that jockey for deals at a level well below military industry giants like Lockheed or Boeing.

The arrests seemed orchestrated to deliver the Justice Department’s message directly to others in the business. All but one of the defendants were arrested on Tuesday in Las Vegas, where they were attending the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference, known as the SHOT Show, which is billed as “the world’s premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, archery, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics, camping and related products and services.”

The drama began to unfold last spring in the sleek beachfront glamour of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami. There, on May 13, the curtain went up on a two-city sting worthy of a George Clooney caper.

After a closely guarded investigation that had taken more than two years, the cast was in place.

There was a mystery figure identified in the indictments as “Individual 1,” a former executive in the law enforcement and military equipment industry who clearly lent credibility to the business deal offered to the defendants, all described as business associates of his.

There was “Undercover Agent 1,” an F.B.I. agent posing as a representative of the defense minister of an unidentified African nation, Country A. And there was “Undercover Agent 2,” another agent posing as a procurement officer who reported directly to the defense minister.

Over two days in Miami, a number of executives sat down in separate meetings with the undercover team to discuss a sales opportunity. A week later, the undercover team moved to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, where more executives sat down to talk.

The script varied only in the products on the shopping list.

In each case, the former sales executive said that a friend of his, a self-employed sales agent, was “tasked by Country A’s minister of defense with obtaining various defense articles for outfitting Country A’s presidential guard.”

The two people with the shopping list were actually the undercover agents. The goods would be shipped, not to Africa, but to a warehouse in Virginia. The “bribes” would be paid into a government bank account.

According to the Justice Department, all the defendants agreed to pay a 20 percent “commission” to the sales agent, even after being clearly told that half would go into the defense minister’s pocket, and they sent e-mail messages that confirmed their decisions.

In each case, the indictments said, the defendants completed a small “test” deal to reassure the fictional defense minister that he would personally get half of the 20 percent commission — as a bribe.

According to one indictment, a Florida executive later showed the deal to his company’s outside law firm and sent the undercover team an e-mail message rejecting the corrupt proposal. The same day, he called and negotiated a way to do the deal anyway, the indictment said.

Another of the defendants is Amaro Goncalves, who is vice president for sales at Smith & Wesson in Springfield, Mass. The company confirmed on Wednesday that Mr. Goncalves was an employee and said it was “prepared to cooperate fully” with the investigation. Mr. Goncalves, free on bail, could not be reached for comment.

The individuals are being prosecuted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That law, which dates to 1977, prohibits American citizens and companies — and, since 1998, foreign citizens and companies acting in the United States — from bribing foreign government officials to get or keep business.

For many years, some Foreign Corrupt Practices Act experts say, the United States waged a lonely battle against such transactions. But Mr. Breuer of the Justice Department said on Wednesday that “international cooperation is growing every day and getting better and better.” He particularly cited the help of British law enforcement agents, who served related search warrants in London on Tuesday.

The work of the F.B.I. was the core of the case. Besides the undercover team, more than 150 agents were involved in serving arrest and search warrants on Tuesday, according to Kevin Perkins, the assistant director of the bureau’s Criminal Investigative Division.

The investigation was led by an F.B.I. squad in Washington that specializes in foreign bribery investigations. New investigations are under way in other parts of the country, as well — one law enforcement source said that prosecutors in Brooklyn now have nearly a half-dozen in the works, compared with none three years ago.

The latest defendants, none of whom have yet been formally arraigned, are all accused of conspiring to violate the act; conspiring to engage in money laundering; and violating the act. The maximum term for the conspiracy and act violations is five years, while the money laundering conspiracy charge carries a prison term of 20 years.

The defendants are scheduled to make their first appearances in United States District Court in Washington on Feb. 3, a Justice Department spokeswoman said. However, the department said in its announcement that all were presumed innocent unless they had confessed or had been convicted.

Mr. Breuer said the real success of the sting would come in the months and years ahead. “From now on,” he said, “would-be F.C.P.A. violators should stop and ponder whether the person they are trying to bribe might really be a federal agent.”

Jenny Anderson contributed reporting.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 6:01:04 AM EDT
I read some of the articles on the subject......only thing that is corrupt IMHO is the federal government.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 6:29:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2010 6:31:38 AM EDT by captainpooby]
While I withhold comment on the guilt or innocence of the defendants, or the morality or ethics of the sting/entrapment exercise I can support the law against the practice.

It's hypocritical to complain of the corruption in foreign governments while allowing support of it at the same time.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 6:30:48 AM EDT
Opening sabot in the war on the 2nd Amendment for this administration.

I wish you and yours all the best.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 6:50:24 AM EDT
Originally Posted By TexasDoubleTap:
Opening sabot in the war on the 2nd Amendment for this administration.

I wish you and yours all the best.


I was thinking the same thing as they could have had way "better" results going after execs in the corrupt oil industry... but they chose firearms... yea this was about foreign corporate bribes.... right...
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 6:59:16 AM EDT

One interesting fact is that this investigation started 30 month ago, under the Bush administration.

Though... the DOJ has long been completely overrun buy Marxist Leftists. Once they completely secured the State Department, they have branched out into other areas and virtually completely run Washington.


-3D
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 7:04:57 AM EDT
OST
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 8:16:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2010 8:27:31 AM EDT by SilentType]
Innocent until proven guilty.

None of us were there and we shouldn't presume to know what happened.

What this does do is highlight that there is a focus on our industry by this current Justice Department and that everyone in our industry needs to take great care in how they communicate with everyone.

Caution is the order of the day.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 8:32:35 AM EDT
Am I reading this right?

Bistrong got caught first and the FBI flipped him, getting him to rat out others in the industry...possibly even acting as an agent provacatuer?
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 8:55:38 AM EDT
Wow, this is more screwed up than the whole Cavalry Arms thing.

Good luck guys.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 9:02:42 AM EDT
Be interesting if the arms makers all got together and refused ANY sales to the fed govt or any of the branches like, oh, the FBI?
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 11:42:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By captainpooby:
While I withhold comment on the guilt or innocence of the defendants,or the morality or ethics of the sting/entrapment exercise I cansupport the law against the practice.

It's hypocritical to complain of the corruption in foreign governments while allowing support of it at the same time.


Eh, tough call. If you want to do business in much of the world, it's the ONLY way to do business. Just don't do it on American soil.

Link Posted: 1/24/2010 11:43:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By AR15fan:
Am I reading this right?

Bistrong got caught first and the FBI flipped him, getting him to rat out others in the industry...possibly even acting as an agent provacatuer?


You read it exactly right.

Link Posted: 1/24/2010 11:46:29 AM EDT
Wow...


The U.S. government calling people corrupt. That's the pot calling the kettle black.


- BG
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 11:50:31 AM EDT
IAW, 'waah, waah, sting op not fair!'

OF COURSE he was not put on any of the 'lists' - what would be the point of that, if they are looking to catch people paying bribes?
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 11:55:12 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
IAW, 'waah, waah, sting op not fair!'

OF COURSE he was not put on any of the 'lists' - what would be the point of that, if they are looking to catch people paying bribes?


Done a lot of business in foreign countries, have you?

Link Posted: 1/24/2010 2:58:08 PM EDT
Hang in there Drew.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 4:00:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TexasDoubleTap:
Opening sabot in the war on the 2nd Amendment for this administration.

I wish you and yours all the best.


This.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 4:21:46 PM EDT
i hope everyone gets out of these bullshit charges and makes the fbi look rediculous
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 5:57:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2010 6:05:53 PM EDT by SilentType]
The truth will come out as to whether the sting was fair or unfair in terms of the law.

Those who presume they can make a determination at this point who were not there are being foolish.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 6:03:17 PM EDT
Good luck Andy
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 6:49:19 PM EDT
WOW! Interesting to say the least....tuned to watch how this develops.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 7:27:19 PM EDT
Sounds eirely like entrapment to me.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 7:31:28 PM EDT
Because it is.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 7:40:17 PM EDT
First I've heard of this.

tagged for info.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 7:45:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TexasDoubleTap:
Opening sabot in the war on the 2nd Amendment for this administration.

I wish you and yours all the best.




+1
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 8:01:29 PM EDT
Its easy doing the LE work to forget that not all people arrested are guilty. All I can say is if they are inoccent I hope they get off. If they did do it I hope they get judged fairly and dont do it again. If he set people up and lied I hope he gets judged too.
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 8:08:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By hoss622:
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
IAW, 'waah, waah, sting op not fair!'

OF COURSE he was not put on any of the 'lists' - what would be the point of that, if they are looking to catch people paying bribes?


Done a lot of business in foreign countries, have you?


What does this have to do with the guy whining about OMG! We checked & he wasn't on the bad guy lists?

Weather foreign countries 'expect' bribes or not, bribes are illegal in the US.

That's it, done...
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 9:23:16 PM EDT
This is a massive blow to the gun industry and I wish the worst on those who brought this upon our industry.

Link Posted: 1/24/2010 9:41:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
IAW, 'waah, waah, sting op not fair!'

OF COURSE he was not put on any of the 'lists' - what would be the point of that, if they are looking to catch people paying bribes?


Is there no abuse of state power you won't wholeheartedly endorse?
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 9:57:28 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 10:07:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By tax_monster:
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
IAW, 'waah, waah, sting op not fair!'

OF COURSE he was not put on any of the 'lists' - what would be the point of that, if they are looking to catch people paying bribes?


Is there no abuse of state power you won't wholeheartedly endorse?

Since when is using an informant to bust criminals an 'abuse of power'?
Link Posted: 1/24/2010 10:38:39 PM EDT
One man's BRIBE is another man's COMMISSION... which is a governments TAX.

BTW, just because they go to court and get found "NOT GUILTY" doesn't mean that's the end... the CHARGE stays on the record and is used against them as would be a CONVICTION in most cases.
Link Posted: 1/25/2010 2:35:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Dave_A:
<snip>

bribes are illegal in the US.

Apparently not considering what's going on in Congress.


Link Posted: 1/25/2010 7:09:03 AM EDT
Be Great if they put as much time and effort in exposing all the pieces of shit we have in office right now. Bet a lot more would strighten up and fly right if they knew they were being watched and accountable. Instead, they remain untouchable.
Link Posted: 1/25/2010 7:20:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2010 7:22:13 AM EDT by wise_jake]

Originally Posted By TexasDoubleTap:
Opening sabot in the war on the 2nd Amendment for this administration.

I wish you and yours all the best.
My understanding of this is that –– much like the Cav Arms situation –– this investigation started under the Bush-era DOJ...


ETA: Not that Obama, Holder, et al, didn't enjoy "pulling the trigger," so to speak, on the final stage.

Link Posted: 1/25/2010 7:30:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2010 7:33:45 AM EDT by wise_jake]

Originally Posted By HeavyMetalArmory:
I would like to take just a few moments to thank everyone for their support here on AR15.com as well as offline. I am one of the 22 arrested just prior to Shot Show in the FBI sting.

Due to the ongoing nature of everything please understand if we cannot be specific about anything at this point nor answer detailed questions about the case.

<snip>

Stay vigilant and question everything.

Again, I thank everyone for the incredible support.
A. Bigelow

Don't know whether you've seen the other thread, so I'm going to re-ask my question here:

Originally Posted By wise_jake:
Originally Posted By boomfab:
Why does our FBI concern itself with bribery cases in Africa?
I wondered whether any part/portion of the actual sting took place in Africa... or whether these individuals met with the UC here.

The article, at least, stated that the "unnamed African country" did not cooperate in the investigation.

It can be a rhetorical question, if you'd prefer... maybe just something for the lawyers to think about.
Link Posted: 1/25/2010 7:30:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By hoss622:
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
IAW, 'waah, waah, sting op not fair!'

OF COURSE he was not put on any of the 'lists' - what would be the point of that, if they are looking to catch people paying bribes?


Done a lot of business in foreign countries, have you?


What does this have to do with the guy whining about OMG! We checked & he wasn't on the bad guy lists?

Weather foreign countries 'expect' bribes or not, bribes are illegal in the US.

That's it, done...


Sometimes Dave, you truly show your naivete.

It's cute, and reminds me that you really don't have much of a clue about somethings.

Wisdom will come though.

TXL

Link Posted: 1/26/2010 6:11:21 AM EDT
A. Bigelow story is EXACTLY correct, I was told(by folks that were in the know) the same the day after the arrests whlle at SHOT

Richard Bistrong is a real POS(to put it lightly)...all my contacts(mostly from Safariland/BAE, which was Armor Holdings) told me story after story about this turd

good luck


Link Posted: 1/26/2010 8:23:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/26/2010 11:53:59 AM EDT
Ok let me get this straight.

I pay a sales commission to a guy who is an independant contractor and he takes his half of that commission and gives it as a bribe and I'm guilty?

Hmmm..

Then let's add that I'm approached with this deal...I didn't suggest it or initiate it?

The .gov had better hope people like me aren't on the jury.
Link Posted: 1/26/2010 11:56:08 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Dave_A:


What does this have to do with the guy whining about OMG! We checked & he wasn't on the bad guy lists?



Why does that list exist?

Is it so that honest gun dealers can know when someone they are dealing with has a history of breaking the law?

If so, what good does that list do if it doesn't include EVERY FUCKING person who has broken the law?

Link Posted: 1/26/2010 11:56:42 AM EDT
This doesn't need to be here this should be in GD.
Link Posted: 1/26/2010 6:29:38 PM EDT
Reading through this thread has been discouraging in many ways. We don't know salvo from sabot, we have bought into the class warfare of the socialists and their demonization of the "corrupt oil industry", we think bad approriations are "bribes". And this is from the smart people!
Link Posted: 1/26/2010 6:45:52 PM EDT
Ummm, shouldn't the FBI be out looking for domestic terriost cells in the US instead of hassling folks at the Shot Show? I wonder how many terror plots were formed in Las Vegas during the Shot Show?
Link Posted: 1/27/2010 2:35:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By osprey21:

Originally Posted By Dave_A:
<snip>

bribes are illegal in the US.

Apparently not considering what's going on in Congress.




ante that the truth........
Link Posted: 1/27/2010 4:04:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By hoss622:
Originally Posted By Dave_A:
IAW, 'waah, waah, sting op not fair!'

OF COURSE he was not put on any of the 'lists' - what would be the point of that, if they are looking to catch people paying bribes?


Done a lot of business in foreign countries, have you?


What does this have to do with the guy whining about OMG! We checked & he wasn't on the bad guy lists?

Weather foreign countries 'expect' bribes or not, bribes are illegal in the US.

That's it, done...


How is the weather out there Dave_A?
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