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Former Mobil Executive Convicted Of Tax Evasion

In a case with possible implications for former adviser to President Nazarbayev James Giffen, J. Bryan Williams, 63, has been convicted of tax evasion and given the most lenient sentence possible by the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Williams admitted to having knowledge of payments made to his former employer in the amount of $2 million, as well as the opening of Swiss accounts. He has been ordered to pay a $25K fine and $3.5M in back taxes.

This excerpt could be particularly damaging to the reputation of Kazakhstan:

Prosecutors said one Kazakh official used bribe money to buy more than $180,000 in jewelry and to pay for a Swiss spa visit while the other official used at least $45,000 to send his daughter to an exclusive Swiss high school.

Exxon Mobil lawyers claim that the payments Williams received and admitted knowledge of were unrelated to the company's purchase of oil fields in Kazakhstan. However, Williams was manager of government crude acquisitions and sales for Exxon Mobil at the time the payments were made.