On Monday, March 12, 2012, a federal jury in Florida convicted Jean Rene Duperval on two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering related to an FCPA scheme involving Telecommunications D’Haiti S.A.M. ("Haiti Teleco"), the Haitian state-owned telecommunications company. Following a week-long trial, the jury took only three hours to convict Mr. Duperval, a former director of international relations for Haiti Teleco. The conviction is the latest Government prosecution related to FCPA at Haiti Teleco, and marks the second conviction of a foreign official involved in the scheme.
According to the evidence presented at trial, two Miami-based telecommunications companies had a series of contracts with Haiti Teleco, the sole provider of land line telephone service in Haiti, that allowed the customers to place telephone calls to Haiti. According to the Government, between 2003 and 2006, the two U.S.-based companies paid a total of $500,000 to two shell companies (as directed by Mr. Duperval) "to obtain various business advantages from [Mr.] Duperval, including the issuance of preferred telecommunications rates, a continued telecommunications connection with Haiti and the continuation of a particularly favorable contract with Haiti Teleco."
As a foreign official, Mr. Duperval could not be charged with violating the FCPA (see, e.g., U.S. v. Blondek, 741 F. Supp. 116, 120 (N.D. Tex. 1990), aff’d sub. nom., U.S. v. Castle, 925 F.2d 831 (5th Cir. 1991)), but the Government alleged that the funds he received and laundered were the proceeds of violations of the FCPA and Haitian bribery law, as well as the U.S. wire fraud statute.
Mr. Duperval is not the first to be convicted of charges relating to Haiti Teleco. His predecessor at Haiti Teleco, Robert Antoine, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, admitting that between May 2001 to April 2003 he accepted bribes from U.S. telecommunications companies and he laundered those through intermediary companies. In June 2010, he was sentenced to 48 months in prison. Moreover, as discussed here, on August 5, 2011, a Florida jury convicted Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, former executives of Terra Telecommunications Corporation, for their roles in a conspiracy to violate the FCPA and commit money laundering. As discussed here, on October 25, 2011, Mr. Rodriguez was sentenced to seven years in prison and Mr. Esquenazi received a 15-year sentence , which the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida described as "[t]his is the longest sentence ever imposed in a case involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act." Three other individuals have also pled guilty to related charges.
Following Monday’s verdict, Mr. Duperval was placed in custody and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 21, 2012.