Two Florida Residents Plead Guilty In Connection with Bribing Government Officials of Haiti
On May 15, 2009, two executives of Florida-based companies pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information charging them with conspiracy to pay and conceal bribes to Haitian government officials in violation of the FCPA and the money laundering laws.23
According to the Information filed by the government, Juan Diaz served as the president of an intermediary company that paid over $1,000,000 in bribes to secure improper business advantages for three Florida-based telecommunications companies from the Republic of Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company, Telecommunications d’Haiti (“Telecom”).24 Antonio Perez, who was the controller for one of these telecom companies, was alleged to have paid $674,193 in bribes.25 As the only public telephone company in Haiti, Telecom contracts with various telecommunications companies to allow their customers to place calls to Haiti. Diaz and Perez each admitted that they conspired with the companies to make “side payments” to the Telecom officials through JD Locator Services, a shell company owned by Diaz. In exchange for these illicit payments, the Telecom officials allegedly provided a variety of benefits to the companies, including “issuing preferred telecommunications rates, reducing the number of minutes for which payment was owed (effectively reducing the per minute rate), and giving a variety of credits toward owed sums.”26 Perez was also alleged to have concealed these illicit payments in the books and records of his employer by mischaracterizing them as “commissions.”27 Diaz and Perez each face a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain involved.
The press release issued by the Department in connection with these cases included an expression of gratitude to the government of Haiti for “providing substantial assistance in gathering evidence during the investigation.”28 This highlights another emerging trend, which is improved international cooperation in multi-jurisdictional cases.29
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