Export-Import Bank Employees Investigated for Big Rigging

Four officials with Export-Import Bank of the United States are being investigated by the U.S. House of Representatives’ oversight committee over allegations of bid-rigging. The committee has accused bank employees of accepting kickbacks, and in some cases, working to steer government contracts to favored companies.  Among the four individuals being questioned is Johnny Gutierrez, who was placed on leave after an investigation was launched into claims that he accepted money in exchange for vouching for a Florida-based company that sought government financing to export construction equipment to Latin America.

Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, of the Oversight and Government Reform committee, demanded in a letter on Wednesday that Export-Import Chairman Fred Hochberg provide names and employment status of the alleged employees.  Hochberg has until July 23rd to provide the requested documents and other court related evidence.

Hochberg told the House Financial Services Committee last month that he was “outraged” by the recent revelations of corruption at the agency and announced that the company’s inspector general had launched a probe into the matter.

On Wednesday, Issa and Jordan stated their concerns with Hochberg’s testimony and noted that magnitude of the allegations may signal a broader scope of corruption at the bank.

The four employees are not the first to be investigated at Export-Import Bank. In 2009, Maureen Njideka Edu was indicted for taking a $100,000 bribe from a Nigerian businessman who was looking to do a deal with a Kentucky-based technology company.


Posted in Bid Rigging |