Air India bribery scandal: RCMP charge three individuals with foreign corruption



(Photo: Nazir Karigar)


THE RCMP’s National Division has charged US nationals Robert Barra, former Cryptometrics CEO, and Dario Berini, former Cryptometrics COO, under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA). UK national Shailesh Govindia, an agent for Cryptometrics, has also been charged under the CFPOA and with one count of fraud. The charges were laid at an Ottawa courthouse, the RCMP announced on Wednesday.

These charges were laid as a result of an international investigation into allegations of bribery involving executives of Cryptometrics Canada Inc.

In 2006, Cryptometrics Canada tendered a contract with Air India for a Biometric Passenger Security System valued at approximately US$100 million Evidence gathered and later presented at trial revealed an agreement by Nazir Karigar, an agent working for Cryptometrics, to pay millions of dollars in bribes to Indian public officials for the purpose of securing a contract with Air India.

“We have a mandate to investigate domestic and international allegations of corruption of foreign public officials.  This investigation demonstrates the RCMP’s commitment to combating international corruption.  Leaving these crimes unchallenged can jeopardize Canada’s reputation as a fair and transparent society,” said Assistant Commissioner, Gilles Michaud, Commanding Officer of National Division.

The initial investigation led to a conviction for Nazir Karigar, an Indian-born Canadian citizen who was found guilty last year and was sentenced to three years in prison last month.
Karigar is the first person to be convicted under Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. So far three companies have been convicted under the act.
The second phase of the investigation focused on the activities of the former CEO and COO of the company.

Canada-wide warrants have been issued for all three accused.