This post details developments as to FCPA or related litigation previously reported.
Haiti Teleco Case
Previous posts (here and here) detailed Joe Esquenazi’s and Carlos Rodriguez’s motion for acquittal or a new trial based on statements made (and then seemingly retracted) by Jean Max Bellerive (Prime Minister of Haiti) concerning the ownership of Haiti Teleco – the entity at the middle of the bribery scheme. In the DOJ’s response (here) to the defendants’ motion, the DOJ argues, among other things, that “the Government did not seek the first Bellerive declaration from the Republic of Haiti, and there is no need for an evidentiary hearing as to when or how the Government obtained it.” As to the second Bellerive declaration, the DOJ stated that “the Government assisted Mr. Bellerive in preparing the declaration” in which Bellerive, as noted in the prior post, stated that the first declaration was strictly for internal purposes and he did not know it was going to be used in criminal legal proceedings in the U.S. or that it was going to be used in support of the argument that Teleco was not part of Public Administration of Haiti.
Substantively, the DOJ argues that the first Bellerive declaration does not “contain newly discovered evidence” because the jury “heard most of” the points addressed in the first Bellerive declaration from Garry Lissade, the DOJ’s expert witness, who testified as to the legal status of Haiti Teleco after “he conducted extensive research, including legal research and interviews, in reaching his conclusions.”
The DOJ’s position in many FCPA enforcement actions concerning state-owned or state-controlled entities seems to be that the ownership structure of the entity at issue should be obvious and easily ascertainable to defendants. If so, why did Lissade (Haiti’s former Minister of Justice) have to “conduct extensive research, including legal research and interviews, in reaching his conclusion” that Teleco was a Haitian public entity?
Africa Sting Case
The second Africa Sting trial involving defendants John Mushriqui, Jeana Mushriqui, R. Patrick Caldwell, Stephen Giordanella, John Godsey, and Marc Morales is set to begin on September 22nd. The second trial will be more narrowly focused than the first Africa Sting trial that resulted in a mistrial (as well as dismissal of certain counts including money laundering conspiracy charges).
Why? Because the DOJ did not oppose defendants’ motion to dismiss the money laundering conspiracy charges. In pre-trial briefing, the DOJ stated as follows. “At the conclusion of the government’s case-in-chief in the first trial, the Court granted a motion for judgment of acquittal on Count Forty-Four of the Superseding Indictment with respect to the defendants in the first trial. The government continues to believe that the Court should not have granted the motion and that Count Forty-Four should have been submitted to the jury. But the government understands the Court’s ruling and will not object to the Defendant’s motion. The government’s position in this filing recognizes the Court’s past ruling, and in no way suggests that the government will not seek to bring similar charges in future cases.”
Siriwan “Foreign Official” Case
A previous post (here) detailed how Juthamas Siriwan and Jittisopa Siriwan (the “foreign officials” in the Green FCPA enforcement action) were fighting back against DOJ criminal charges. As noted in the post, the Siriwans argued as follows. “This is the first judicial challenge to a novel prosecutorial approach the Government recently developed to charge foreign officials allegedly involved in corruption. That approach is aimed at overcoming a fundamental FCPA limitation. The FCPA does not criminalize a foreign public official’s receipt of a bribe. Nor can the Government employ an FCPA conspiracy charge against a foreign public official. Accordingly, these new enforcement initiatives require expansive interpretations [of] “promotion money laundering” [under the Money Laundering Control Act].” The Siriwans further argued as follows. “Congress has extensively amended the FCPA, yet it deliberately has not extended FCPA liability to foreign officials. If the Government wishes to extend U.S. criminal penalties to foreign officials accepting a bribe, it must go back to Congress, rather than employ dubious charging tactics to evade the direct and repeated congressional choice not to apply FCPA criminal liability to such officials.”
In its opposition brief (here) filed last week, the DOJ stated as follows. “Upon analysis of defendants’ arguments, it is quickly evident that, in support of their positions, defendants routinely conflate and confuse multiple statutes, interpret and argue the elements of uncharged statutes, and ignore case law relevant to the statutes actually charged.” Among other things, the DOJ stated as follows. “That foreign officials cannot face liability for FCPA offenses does not give foreign officials a free pass to commit other, entirely separate, crimes.” The DOJ noted that the Siriwans are not charged with accepting a bribe, or conspiring to violate the FCPA, but rather with “the separate, and entirely analytically distinct, crime of international transportation money laundering to promote the Greens’ violation of the FCPA.” The DOJ noted that just because Siriwan ”was a foreign official at the time of these offenses, and therefore, not charged under the FCPA does not change the analysis.”
As reported by Samuel Rubenfeld at Wall Street Journal Corruption Currents, a hearing on Siriwans’ motion to dismiss is scheduled for Oct. 20.