US Executives and Former Haitian Government Officials Charged with Bribery, Fraud, and Money-Laundering

10 December 2009 Publication

On December 7, 2009, the Department of Justice announced that it had charged two Florida executives of an unnamed Miami-Dade County-based telecommunications company, the president of Florida-based Telecom Consulting Services Corp., and two former Haitian government officials for their alleged roles in a foreign bribery, wire fraud and money laundering scheme.

According to the indictment, between November 2001and March 2005, the defendants allegedly engaged in a bribery and money-laundering scheme whereby the telecommunications company paid more than $800,000 to shell companies to be used for bribes to foreign officials of the Republic of Haiti's state-owned national telecommunications company, Telecommunications D'Haiti (Haiti Teleco).

The alleged corrupt payments, authorized by the telecommunications company's president and vice president, were paid to government officials at Haiti Teleco for the purpose of obtaining business advantages for the company, including receiving preferred telecommunications rates and monetary credits towards amounts owed. The alleged scheme involved paying bribes through various shell companies, as well as creating false records claiming the payments were for "consulting services," which were never performed.

The Department of Justice press release states that the two executives, Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, and an intermediary agent, Marguerite Grandison, were charged with violating the FCPA, money laundering laws, and the wire fraud statute. Under the FCPA, corrupt payments to employees of state-owned enterprises such as Haiti Teleco are prohibited.

The former Haitian foreign officials, Robert Antoine, 61, and Jean Rene Duperval, 43, former directors of international relations at Haiti's state-owned Haiti Teleco, were charged with money laundering. Both of the former Haiti Teleco directors reside in Florida and are alleged to have committed the offenses while in Florida.