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Former Tobacco Purchaser Pleads Guilty

A former purchaser with Dimon faces a maximum of five years and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty for his role in a conspiracy to pay bribes to officials of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, according to Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the criminal division and Shawn Henry, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Bobby Jay Elkin Jr., 50, of Washington, N.C. pleaded guilty this week in U.S. Western District Court in Danville to a one count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, justice department officials said.

Elkin admitted to conspiring to make corrupt payments totaling more than $3 million to foreign government officials in Kyrgyzstan from 1996 through 2004 for the purpose of securing business advantages for the former Danville-based tobacco dealer, officials said.

Elkin admitted he made cash payments to officials of the Kyrgyz tobacco authority, an instrument of the government, in order to obtain export licenses and to gain access to government-owned tobacco processing facilities, officials said.

According to court documents, the payments were based on the number of kilograms of Kyrgyz tobacco Dimon purchased and processed for export.

In addition, Elkin admitted he made cash payments to local government officials, known as Akims, to obtain permission to purchase tobacco from local growers and to the Kyrgyz Tax Inspection Police to influence their decisions and avoid lengthy tax inspections and penalties, officials said.

The court did not set a sentencing date for Elkin.