While Malta was engaged today in paying close attention to the testimony of its former Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, with many having followed online the real-time summaries of the questions posed and the his responses, this is a good time to clear the air regarding his exposure, as a foreign official, to America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act., as well as that of other Maltese government officials who accept bribes, kickbacks or other items of value from Americans and their companies to direct government business or contracts to them.
While Muscat, and the attorneys who are representing him, most certainly have asvised him that foreign government officials may not be charged under the FCPA, there is an alternate method through which Federal prosecutors obtain a conviction for corruption. Bribes operate as a Predicate Act, otherwise known as Specific Unlawful Activity (SUA), and such corruption produces what some commentators regard as "proceeds which generate money laundering transactions."
To be more specific, corruption cases meet the test for money laundering when, knowing that the property involved in a financial transaction represented the Proceeds of some form of Unlawful Activity, the targets conducted or attempted to conduct a financial transaction, which in fact involved the proceeds of that specific Unlawful Activity, or with the knowledge that the transaction was designed at least in part to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of the Proceeds of the Unlawful Activity.
Muscat's attorneys are correct; he probably cannot be charged under the FCPA. but he can most certainly be indicted for money laundering.
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