Archive for the ‘Antonio Perez’ Category

Haiti Teleco Roundup

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Last week, the DOJ announced (here) that Jean Rene Duperval (a former director of international relations for Haiti Teleco) was “convicted by a federal jury on all counts for his role in a scheme to launder bribes paid to him by two Miami-based telecommunications companies.”

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer stated as follows.  “Mr. Duperval was convicted by a Miami jury of laundering $500,000 paid to him as part of an elaborate bribery scheme.  As the director of international relations for Haiti’s state-owned telecommunications company, Duperval doled out business in exchange for bribes and then used South Florida shell companies to conceal his crimes.  This Justice Department is committed to stamping out corruption wherever we find it.”  Duperval is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21st.

The Haiti Teleco case (minus the manufactured and now former Africa Sting case) is the largest in FCPA history in terms of defendants charged – 13.  Below is a brief summary of the actions.

Individuals Charged With FCPA and/or Related Offenses

Antonio Perez.  In April 2009, Perez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA.  As noted in this prior post, in January 2010, he was sentenced to 24 months in prison.

Juan Diaz.  In May 2009, Diaz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA.  As noted in this prior post, in July 2010, he was sentenced to 57 months in prison.

Jean Fourcand.  As noted in this DOJ release, in February 2010, Fourcand pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering for receiving and transmitting bribe monies in the Haiti Teleco scheme.  In May 2010, Fourcard was sentenced to 6 months in prison.

Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez.  As noted in this prior post, in August 2011, Esquenazi and Rodriguez were convicted by a jury for conspiracy to violate the FCPA, FCPA violations, and other offenses.  As noted in this prior post, in October 2011, Esquenazi was sentenced to 180 months in prison and Rodriguez was sentenced to 84 months in prison.  As noted below, Esquenazi and Rodriguez are appealing their convictions to the 11th Circuit.

Marguerite Grandison.  As noted in this DOJ release, in December 2009, Grandison was charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and commit wire fraud, seven counts of FCPA violations, one count conspiracy to commit money laundering and 12 counts of money laundering.  According to a recent docket search, in February 2012, Grandison entered a not guilty plea and shortly thereafter the docket states as follows – “docket restricted/sealed until further notice.”

Washington Vasconez Cruz, Amadeus Richers and Cecilia Zurita.  These individuals (associated with Cinergy Telecommunications) are fugitives according to the DOJ.

“Foreign Officials” Charged With Non-FCPA Offenses

Duperval – see above.

Patrick Joseph. As noted in this prior post, the former director of international relations at Haiti Teleco pleaded guilty in February 2012 to conspiracy to commit money laundering. In July 2012, he was sentenced to 366 days in prison.

Robert Antoine.  As noted in this prior post, the former director of international affairs at Haiti Teleco pleaded guilty in March 2010 to conspiracy to commit money laundering.  In June 2010, he was sentenced to 48 months in prison.

Entity Charged

Cinergy Telecommunications.  As noted in this prior post, in February the DOJ moved to dismiss charges against Cinergy because it is a non-operational entity with no assets of any real value.

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Carlos Rodriguez and Joel Esquenazi are appealing their convictions to the 11th Circuit.  See here for the prior post regarding Rodriguez and his appellate counsel.  Recently, T. Markus Funk and Michael Sink (here and here of Perkins Coie) began representing Esquenazi in connection the appeal.  Funk, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago and US State Department lawyer co-chairs the ABA’s Global Anti-Corruption Task Force (here).

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This prior post discussed Haiti Teleco’s other preferred providers – namely IDT Corp. and Fusion Telecommunications – and linked to a recent Wall Street Journal article titled the “Looting of Haiti Teleco.”  The WSJ article was shortly countered with this post by Lucy Komisar.

The Case That Just Keeps On Giving

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Last week, the Haiti Teleco case netted additional defendants as the DOJ announced (here) a superseding indictment in the never-ending enforcement action. Named in the superseding indictment (here) are:

Cinergy Telecommunications Inc. (a privately-held telecommunications company incorporated in Florida, charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud, six counts of FCPA violations, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering);

Washington Vasconez Cruz (the president of Cinergy, charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud, six counts of FCPA violations, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering);

Amadeus Richers (a former director of Cinergy, charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud, six counts of FCPA violations, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering);

Patrick Joseph (a former general director for telecommunications at Haiti Teleco and thus a “foreign official” according to the DOJ, charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering);

Jean Rene Duperval (a former director of international relations for telecommunications at Haiti Teleco and thus a “foreign official” according to the DOJ, charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering); and

Marguerite Grandison (the former president of Telecom Consulting Services Corp., and Duperval’s sister, charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering.

Duperval and Grandison were previously charged in the case in December 2009 (see here).

With this latest development, the Haiti Teleco case has become, other than the manufactured Africa Sting enforcement action, the largest FCPA enforcement action in history – in terms of number of defendants – 12. In addition to those listed above, the following individuals were also charged: Antonio Perez, Joel Esquenazi, Juan Diaz, Robert Antoine, Jean Fourcand, and Carlos Rodriguez.

The Haiti Teleco case stands in stark contrast to many corporate FCPA enforcement actions (enforcement actions that sometimes involve tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in bribe payments) that yield no individual enforcement actions. See here for the prior post discussing the numbers from 2010 and thus far this year.

All bribery and corruption of course is bad, but does approximately $1 million in alleged bribe payments in the Haiti Teleco case justify the largest real FCPA enforcement action in history?

I previously observed (here) in connection with the Haiti Teleco case that often the DOJ resolves seemingly clear-cut instances of corporate bribery and corruption involving tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in bribe payments (per the government’s own evidence) without FCPA anti-bribery charges and without charging any corporate employees. In other cases, often relatively minor ones, the DOJ comes out with guns-a-blazing.

To call it inconsistent law enforcement is an understatement.

Mum’s The Word As To Perez Sentence

Friday, April 29th, 2011

On January 21st, the DOJ announced (here) that Antonio Perez was sentenced to 2 years in prison in connection with the Haiti Teleco case.

I did not cover the sentence as it happened because, as I hope readers recognize and appreciate, I like to analyze things a bit before posting.

Thus, when it comes to FCPA sentences, the actual sentence only tells part of the story; the complete story requires knowledge of the sentence the DOJ was actually requesting.

For instance, the DOJ sought a 37 month sentence as to Leo Winston Smith, but the judge sentenced him to six months (see here). The DOJ sought a 38 month sentence as to Bobby Elkins, but the judge sentenced him to probation (see here). The DOJ sought a 14-17 year sentence as to Nam Nguyen, but the judge sentenced to him to 16 months (see here).

Numerous other examples abound and I’ve previously noted that the DOJ may be charging more individuals with FCPA violations (although in 2010, 70% of corporate enforcement actions did not involve any related enforcement action against company employees), and those individuals may be pleading guilty (perhaps because of the “carrots” and “sticks” the DOJ possesses), but when it comes time to sentencing, judges are viewing FCPA cases much differently than the DOJ.

Back to Perez.

There is nothing in the publicly filed documents that indicate the sentence the DOJ was seeking in this case.

I contacted Perez’s attorney, Michael Chavies (see here) and asked him – what sentence was the DOJ seeking – the answer – no comment.

I’ve exchanged e-mails with the Public Affairs Office at Justice Department and, after nearly three months, I’ve still yet to learn the answer to the rather simple question of what sentence the DOJ was seeking as to Perez.

Perhaps someday the answer will be known and a more thoughtful analysis of the Perez sentence will be possible.

For now, mum’s the word.

So … in case you had not heard, Antonio Perez was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to serve two years of supervised release following his prison term, and to forfeit $36,375.

For numerous prior posts on the Haiti Teleco, please visit the Haiti tab on the right.

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A good weekend to all.

Indicting a "Foreign Official"

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Yesterday, the DOJ announced (see here) the unsealing of an indictment (see here) against Joel Esquenazi, Carlos Rodriguez, and Marguerite Grandison which charges (among other things) conspiracy to violate the FCPA and substantive FCPA violations for an alleged scheme to bribe two former employees of Haiti Teleco, the alleged “state-owned national telecommunications company.”

Esquenazi and Rodriguez are former executives of a privately owned, Florida-based telecommunications company and Grandison was the President of Telecom Consulting Services Corp., a Florida based company which served as an intermediary.

The unsealed indictment is the latest chapter in this matter; in May 2009, the DOJ announced (see here) the guilty pleas of Juan Diaz and Antonio Perez in connection with the same scheme.

This matter is also yet another example of an FCPA enforcement action in which the “foreign official” is an employee of an alleged state-owned or state-controlled entity.

That, however, is not why this enforcement action is noteworthy.

It is noteworthy because DOJ also indicted Robert Antoine and Jean Rene Duperval – the alleged “foreign officials.” According to the indictment, Antoine and Duperval both served as the “Director of International Relations of Haiti Teleco” and were responsible for negotiating contracts with international telecommunications companies on behalf of Haiti Teleco.

Of course, the charges were not FCPA charges, because the FCPA only covers “bribe-payers” not “bribe-takers” (see here, here, for prior posts on this subject).

Rather the charges against Antoine and Duperval were money laundering conspiracy and/or substantive money laundering charges.

According to the DOJ release, Antoine is from “Miami and Haiti” and Duperval is from “Miramar, Fla. and Haiti.” Further, according to the indictment, both individuals had bank accounts in the U.S. and these accounts were used in connection with the bribery scheme. (I wonder if Washington Mutual, Wachovia, or Miami Federal Credit Union were aware that Haitian “foreign officials” were among its customers!)

To my knowledge this is the first time “foreign officials” have been specifically charged as defendants in connection with an FCPA enforcement action. This indictment of “foreign officials” comes on the heels of AG Holder’s recent speech (see here) in which he stated that the U.S. government was committed to recovering funds obtained by “foreign officials” through bribery.