On October 14, 2011, the DOJ dismissed bribery charges against Si Chan Wooh, the former Executive Vice President and head of Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.’s (“Schnitzer Steel”) Tacoma, Washington based subsidiary SSI International which oversaw Schnitzer Steel’s South Korean subsidiary, SSI Korea.
Back in 2007, Wooh previously entered into a cooperation agreement with the DOJ and pled guilty to conspiring with Schnitzer Steel to violate the FCPA based upon alleged improper payments from 1999-2004 by SSI Korea to Chinese government owned steel mills to induce scrap metal purchases. (See original DOJ press release here.) Based on these same alleged improper payments, in 2006, SSI pled guilty to violating the FCPA’s anti-bribery and accounting provisions and agreed to pay a $7.5 million criminal fine, and Schnitzer Steel entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ, a cease and desist order with the SEC, and agreed to disgorgement of $7.7 million.
Wooh’s sentencing was delayed multiple times over the last four years as he and the DOJ litigated numerous procedural issues in the investigation of the case and whether Wooh should qualify as a whistleblower. DOJ’s October 14, 2011 motion to dismiss the criminal information against Wooh cited prosecutorial discretion as the basis for the dismissal.