U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 20671 / August 6, 2008
SEC v. Ali Hozhabri, Civil Action No. 08 CV 1359 (D.D.C.)
SEC Charges Former ABB Project Manager for Falsifying Company's Books and Records
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it filed a settled civil action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against Ali Hozhabri, a former project manager for a subsidiary of ABB Ltd., charging him with violations of the books and records provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act"). ABB is a Swiss corporation, and its American Depository Receipts are registered with the Commission and trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
As alleged in the complaint, Hozhabri was a project manager for ABB Network Management ("ABB NM"), a division of a U.S. based ABB subsidiary, which provides products and services for managing power generation and transmission networks. The Commission alleges that, from 2002 through 2004, Hozhabri fraudulently submitted approximately $468,714 in cash and check disbursement requests to ABB NM for purported business expenses associated with projects in Brazil, Paraguay, and the United Arab Emirates. As alleged in the complaint, these purported expenses were phony, and inaccurately recorded as legitimate business expenses in ABB's books and records. The Commission further alleges that the funds disbursed by ABB NM as a result of these requests were not used to pay any business expenses, but rather were embezzled by Hozhabri and the former General Manager of ABB NM. According to the complaint, Hozhabri personally kept $234,357 of the embezzled funds.
The Commission alleges that Hozhabri violated Section 13(b)(5) of the Exchange Act, and Rule 13b2-1 thereunder, and aided and abetted violations of Section 13(b)(2)(A) of the Exchange Act. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, Hozhabri consented to the entry of a final judgment that permanently enjoins him from future violations of these provisions, and orders him to disgorge his ill-gotten gains of $234,357, which will be deemed satisfied by his payment of that amount in a pending criminal case by the U.S. Department of Justice. In that case, United States v. Hozhabri, Criminal Docket No. H-07-452(s) (SDTx), Hozhabri has pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and is awaiting sentencing.
The Commission wishes to thank the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in connection with this matter.
The Commission's investigation is continuing.