Not too long ago I was clicking through the greatly improved DOJ FCPAwebpage when I stumbled onto an enforcement action that had flown under the anticorruption/compliance blogosphere's radar. Yes, Manuel Salvoch had escaped the dreaded DOJ press release, but not the Fraud Section's posting of documents for the world to see. It was only a matter of time before someone found them.

Conduct

Salvoch pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA for his role in a scheme to bribe officials at Honduras’ state-owned Empresa Hondureña de Telecomunicaciones (Hondutel).

From March 2005 to 2007 Salvoch served as the Chief Financial Officer of Latin Node, Inc. (Latinode). Officially, Salvoch was responsible for, among other things, approving payments and wire transfers.

From April 2006 to October 2007, Salvoch, Jorge Granados, Latinode’s former CEO and Chairman of the Board, and Manuel Caceres, Juan Pablo Vasquez and an individual identified as "Co-Conspirator A", all former senior executives at Latinode, (collectively, the Co-Conspirators) participated in a scheme to bribe at least three Hondutel-affiliated officials to maintain an interchange agreement Latinode had with Hondutel and to obtain reductions from the rates contained in said agreement as well as other benefits.

Salvoch’s principal role in the scheme was to facilitate payments to the three officials to secure rate reductions to the existing interchange agreement.

From September 2006 through June 2007, the Co-Conspirators authorized and facilitated the payment of several hundred thousand dollars to the Hondutel officials.

Penalties

At sentencing Salvoch faces five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss realized from the criminal conduct.

Notes

In commenting on the April 7, 2009 resolution to the Latinode enforcement action wherein Latinode pleaded guilty to one count of violating the FCPA’s antibribery provision and agreed to pay a $2 million fine, the DOJ represented the investigation’s resolution reflected, “in large part,” the acts of eLandia International, Inc. (eLandia), Latinode’s corporate parent, in disclosing the violations to the DOJ after eLandia’s acquisition of Latinode. eLandia promptly voluntarily disclosed to the DOJ the conduct after discovering it, conducted an internal investigation, shared the internal investigation’s factual results with the DOJ, cooperated fully with the DOJ, and took remedial action, including terminating senior Latinode management with involvement in or knowledge of the violations.

In December 2010, the DOJ charged Granados and Caceres in a 19 count indictment with FCPA and international money laundering violations. The indictment also contained a notice of forfeiture.