Three men charged in U.S. after attempt to bribe government officials in Azerbaijan

Three men have been charged in what prosecutors said Thursday was a massive scheme to bribe high-level government officials in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan to get favorable treatment in oil deals.

The charges against Viktor Kozeny, Frederic Bourke Jr. and David Pinkerton were contained in a 27-count indictment in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, The AP reports.

The indictment said Kozeny, a Czech national, an Irish citizen and a resident of the Bahamas, was president and chairman of Oily Rock Group Limited and Minaret Group Limited when the companies and their stockholders and co-investors made a series of corrupt promises, payments and offers of payments to senior Azerbaijan officials.

The offers were made to protect the investment group's ability to buy options on some of Azerbaijan's state-owned enterprises that were being privatized, according to the indictment.

Those enterprises included the State Oil Co., which held the country's oil and gas reserves and its oil and gas exploration, production and refining facilities, the indictment said. AM

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