Former Haitian Telecom Official Pleads Guilty

19 March 2010 Publication

On March 12, 2010, the Department of Justice announced that a former official of the Republic of Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company, Robert Antoine, 62, of Miami and Haiti, pleaded guilty to his role in a foreign bribery scheme. Antoine is the former director of international affairs at Telecommunications D’Haiti (from May 2001 to April 2003), and is the former Haitian official at the focal point of the significant Department of Justice investigation into bribes paid by three U.S. telecommunications companies. In pleading guilty, Antoine also admitted that he laundered the bribes given to him through intermediary companies, including J.D. Locator Services. He also admitted that $800,000 of the bribes was intended to be given to him by a U.S. telecommunications company of which Antonio Perez was, at times, the controller. As discussed in a previous post here, Juan Diaz, the president of J.D. Locator, pleaded guilty on May 15, 2009, to conspiracy to commit violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and money laundering, and on Apr. 27, 2009, Perez pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit FCPA violations and money laundering.

In addition, Antoine admitted that a portion of the J.D. Locator funds was also laundered by Jean Fourcand of Fourcand Enterprises. As discussed here, Fourcand pleaded guilty to money laundering on Feb. 19, 2010.

For his role in the conspiracy, Antoine faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. Antoine also agreed to a forfeiture order of $1,580,771. His sentencing is scheduled for May 27, 2010. Although bribe takers cannot be prosecuted under the FCPA, Antoine's plea is significant because it represents the conviction of the foreign official at the center of the FCPA investigation. According to U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman, Antoine's conviction "should be a warning to corrupt government officials everywhere that neither they nor their money will find any safe haven in the United States."

A copy of the DOJ Press Release is available here