Former Haiti Telco Employee Sentenced to 48 Months in Prison

02 June 2010 Publication

The Department of Justice announced that on June 1, 2010, Robert Antoine, a former employee of Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company, was sentenced to 48 months in prison for being part of a bribery and money-laundering scheme. Antoine pleaded guilty in March of this year to conspiracy to commit money laundering. The conviction of a foreign government official implicated at the center of a FCPA investigation represents an important development regarding the DOJ’s expansive view of the FCPA. However, it is important to note that Antoine was not charged with any substantive FCPA charges. For more detail on this plea deal, see our previous post here.

Antoine was also ordered by the federal judge to pay $1,852,209 in restitution and to forfeit $1,580,771, and serve three years of supervised release following his prison term.

Antoine was the director of international affairs for Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company, Haiti Telco from May 2001 to April 2003. During that time, Antoine admitted to accepting bribes from three U.S. telecommunications companies. He admitted that he disguised the origin of the bribes by passing them through intermediary companies in the U.S., including J.D. Locator Services.

Juan Diaz, the president of J.D. Locator, pleaded guilty on May 15, 2009, to conspiracy to commit violations of the FCPA and money laundering. He has yet to be sentenced.

Antoine acknowledged that $800,000 of the bribes were intended to be given to him by a U.S. telecommunications company for which Joel Esquenazi was the president and director, Carlos Rodriguez was the executive vice president, and Antonio Perez was, at times, the controller. Perez pleaded guilty on Apr. 27, 2009, to conspiring to commit FCPA violations and money laundering.

Esquenazi and Rodriguez, as well as Jean Rene Duperval, who was director of international relations of Haiti Teleco from June 2003 to April 2004, and Duperval’s sister, Marguerite Grandison, were indicted along with Antoine on Dec. 4, 2009. Trial for the remaining defendants is scheduled to begin July 19, 2010, in U.S. District Court in Miami.