Former Latin Node Executive Pleads Guilty

26 May 2011 Publication

Another former senior executive of a Miami-based telecommunications company, Latin Node Inc. (“LatiNode”) has pleaded guilty to charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). On May 19, 2011, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released a statement that Jorge Granados, former chief executive officer of LatiNode, pleaded guilty in federal district court in Miami to conspiring to pay bribes to government officials in Honduras, a violation of the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. Granados now joins three other former LatiNode senior executives who have pleaded guilty in the case: Manuel Salvoch, the chief financial officer; Juan Pablo Vasquez, the chief commercial officer; and Manuel Caceres, the vice president for business development.  Each could receive a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

LatiNode provided telecommunications services to countries throughout the world, including Honduras. In December 2005, the company was awarded a valuable contract with the state-owned communications authority in Honduras. This contract allowed the company to use telecommunications lines in Honduras to provide services between the two countries. In April 2009, LatiNode pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging the company with a criminal violation of the FCPA. The company paid a $2 million dollar fine.

According to the DOJ release, Granados and the other defendants admitted to authorizing illegal bribes to Honduran officials, including officials at the state-owned communications authority. In 2006 and 2007, Granados and the other defendants paid more than $500,000 in bribes to officials in Honduras. The defendants concealed the payments by laundering the money through LatiNode subsidiaries in Guatemala and to accounts in Honduras controlled by the Honduran government officials.

Granados is scheduled to be sentenced on August 22, 2011. He could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or more.

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