Feds File First Russian Uranium-Linked Indictment: Bribery, Money Laundering, Kickbacks

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The founder and owner of Frederick’s Dragon Distillery was indicted Friday for his alleged role in bribing a Russian atomic energy official to win government contracts for the company he formerly co-owned.

Mark Lambert, 54, of Mount Airy, faces 11 charges including violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and wire fraud, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement released Friday.

“We categorically reject the charges and are eager to dispute and defeat them in court,” William M. Sullivan Jr., attorney for Lambert, said in an email Friday.

Lambert, who owns Dragon Distillery in Frederick, is the former co-president, along with Daren Condrey, of a Maryland-based nuclear fuel transportation company. The company, referred to as Transportation Company A in the indictment, provided logistical support for transporting nuclear materials in the United States and to foreign clients.

In the indictment unsealed Friday, prosecutors allege that Lambert and others concealed corrupt and fraudulent payments with fake invoices, offshore bank accounts and shell companies in Latvia, Cyprus and Switzerland, the release states.

Authorities believe that from at least 2009 to October 2014 Lambert and other company executives conspired to bribe Vadim Mikerin, an official at the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation subsidiary JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), in order to secure contracts for transporting nuclear fuel, according to the Justice Department release.

TENEX, which supplies uranium and uranium enrichment services to international companies, wholly owned a U.S.-based company called TENAM Corporation, according to the indictment.

The case is being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Energy and FBI.

Around 2009, Lambert and Condrey began working with a third, unnamed executive at Transportation Company A to bribe Mikerin, according to the indictment. In exchange, Mikerin would help steer contracts to the transportation company.

Investigators believe Lambert and the others discussed the scheme in emails, using code words like “lucky figures,” “lucky numbers,” and “cake” to talk about bribes and kickbacks.

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Federal prosecutors charged a former co-president of a Maryland transportation company with bribery in an 11-count indictment stemming from an alleged effort to win business from a unit of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corp., said the U.S. Department of Justice.

In an indictment unsealed on Friday, prosecutors charged Mark Lambert, 54 years old, with one count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and to commit wire fraud. He also was charged with seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. A lawyer for Mr. Lambert couldn’t be identified.

The FCPA is an antibribery statute.

Starting as early as 2009, the Justice Department said Mr. Lambert conspired with others at the transportation company, which it didn’t identify, to bribe Vadim Mikerin, an official at JSC Techsnabexport, or Tenex, to win and keep business with the firm. Tenex was the sole supplier of Russian uranium and enrichment services to nuclear power companies world-wide, said the Justice Department.

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