Former VoIP Exec Sentenced on Bribery Charges

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A former managing director of VoIP provider ITXC was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation, including three months of home confinement and three months in a community confinement center, for his role in a bribery scheme involving telecommunications contracts in Africa, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Roger Michael Young, 48, of Washington, D.C., was also sentenced to pay a US$7,000 fine in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Young received a reduced sentence based on his cooperation with the ongoing investigation into the bribery scheme, the DOJ said in a news release.

ITXC, a wholesale provider of VoIP services founded in 1997, was acquired by Teleglobe International Holdings in 2004. In 2005, Teleglobe was acquired by a division of India's Tata Group.

On July 21, former ITXC Vice President Steven J. Ott, 49, of Princeton, New Jersey, was sentenced to serve five years probation, including six months in a community confinement center and six months home confinement, and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Ott also received a reduced sentence based on his cooperation with the investigation, the DOJ said.

Young and Ott pleaded guilty in July 2007 to conspiring to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Travel Act in connection with approximately $267,000 in bribes in the form of illegal "commissions" to employees of foreign state-owned telecommunications carriers in several African countries.

A third defendant in the case, Yaw Osei Amoako, pleaded guilty in September 2006 and was sentenced in August 2007 to 18 months in prison, a $7,500 fine and two years of supervised release following release from prison.

Ott, Young and Amoako told the court they conspired with each other and other former ITXC employees to make illegal payments to employees of foreign state-owned telecom carriers. The goal was that those telecom employees would use their influence to assist ITXC in obtaining and retaining contracts with the foreign carriers, the DOJ said.

The case remains under investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In March 2000, ITXC announced an initiative aimed at promoting the use of Internet telephony throughout Africa. In January 2001, the company announced a deal with Zimbabwe Posts & Telecommunications, and in August 2001, the company signed a deal with Telkom South Africa to exchange VoIP traffic.

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