A former coal company executive was arrested Thursday on charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, laundering funds, and receiving kickbacks as part of an alleged scheme to pay bribes to government officials in Egypt in connection with contracts with an Egyptian state-owned and state-controlled company, Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals.
The seven-count indictment alleges that Charles Hunter Hobson, 46, of Knoxville, Tennessee, engaged in the bribery and money laundering scheme between late 2016 and early 2020. During part of that time, Hobson was the vice president of a coal company in Pennsylvania and was responsible for the company’s business relationship with Al Nasr. Hobson and others, including the company’s sales intermediary, allegedly paid bribes to Al Nasr officials in Egypt to obtain approximately $143 million in coal contracts for the company. To effectuate the bribery scheme, the indictment alleges, Hobson and others caused the company to: (1) pay commissions to the sales intermediary, who passed on bribes to Al Nasr officials in exchange for the coal contracts, and (2) transfer the corrupt commission payments from a bank account in the United States to a bank account in the United Arab Emirates. The indictment also alleges that Hobson conspired to secretly receive a portion of the commissions paid to the sales intermediary as kickbacks.
Hobson is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, two counts of violating the act, one count of conspiracy to launder money, two counts of money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
If convicted, Hobson faces up to five years in prison for each of the bribery conspiracy and bribery charges, and up to 20 years in prison for each of the money laundering conspiracy, money laundering, and wire fraud charges.
Hobson made his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon in the Eastern District of Tennessee.
The FBI’s International Corruption Unit in Washington, D.C., and the Washington Field Office are investigating the case.