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FCPA Blog Daily News

Entries in Latin Node Inc. (17)

Thursday
Jan242013

Hondutel manager acquitted in LatiNode case 

Former Honduran Telecom Managing Director Marcelo Chimirri has been acquitted by the Honduras Supreme Court of charges of bribery, fraud and abuse of authority.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun192012

Another LatiNode Exec Jailed

'Just like the beginning, the end of the Salvoch enforcement action also flew under the radar,' Mike Koehler said.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun192012

Not So Fast: Are DOJ Flops Always Failures?

When Roger Clemens and FCPA defendants walk, should we only see failure by the DOJ?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr252012

No Prison For LatiNode Exec

Samuel Rubenfeld at the Wall Street Journal reported the sentencing today of Juan Pablo Vasquez, a former executive at Latin Node Inc.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr202012

LatiNode Exec Jailed

Manuel Caceres, the former vice president for business development of telecommunications firm Latin Node Inc. (LatiNode), was sentenced on Thursday to twenty-three months in prison.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep092011

LatiNode CEO Jailed For Bribery

Jorge Granados, who once headed Florida-based telecommunications company Latin Node Inc. (LatiNode), was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Miami to 46 months in prison for bribing government officials in Honduras.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul012011

Enforcement Report For Q-2 '11

Two huge cases settled during the quarter. Both JGC and Johnson & Johnson made our top-ten list. Three other corporate settlements happened during quarter.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May192011

More Guilty Pleas In Honduras Bribe Case

The DOJ said today that Jorge Granados, the former CEO of Miami-based Latin Node Inc. (LatiNode), pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay bribes to government officials in Honduras.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr042011

Enforcement Report For Q1 '11

During the first quarter of 2011, two earlier FCPA-related indictments were disclosed. And there were four corporate actions, four guilty pleas, including two shot-show defendants and the former KBR middleman Jeffrey Tesler, who was hit with the biggest forfeiture order in FCPA history, and two sentencings of individuals to prison.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec202010

Former Latin Node Execs Charged

The DOJ announced the arrest today of two former executives of Miami-based telecommunications company Latin Node Inc. They're charged with paying more than $500,000 in bribes to government officials in Honduras.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug022010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

While looking at FCPA enforcement data, Bruce Hinchey, left, made a startling and disturbing discovery about the consequences of self reporting.

Here's his story:

* * *

Dear FCPA Blog,

Many question the Department of Justice’s claim that there are tangible benefits to voluntary disclosure of a FCPA violation.

As a part of a yet unpublished paper, I consider the data from 40 FCPA cases from 2002 through 2009 and the differences between bribes paid and penalties levied against companies that do and do not self-disclose.

In the paper, linear regression analysis of the cases reveals a sound statistical relationship between the amounts a company bribes and the corresponding fine it receives. For now, I will focus on the fine-to-bribe ratio companies face for FCPA violations. The fine-to-bribe ratio is calculated by simply dividing the total penalty a company received by the amount it bribed.

Voluntary Disclosures

Within the voluntary disclosure group the fine-to-bribe ratios ranged from encouragingly low (Bristow Group Inc. and Latinode Inc. stand out with a fine-to-bribe ratio of 0 and .89, respectively) to strikingly high (Baker Hughes Inc. and Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. had fine-to-bribe ratios of 10.73 and 8.46, respectively). On average, this group faced a 4.53 fine-to-bribe ratio. Thus, it appears as though a voluntarily disclosing company might expect a fine of $4.53 for every dollar given as a bribe.

Involuntary Disclosures

The involuntary disclosure group also had surprisingly high ratios (Flowserve Corp. and Akzo-Nobel NV had fine-to-bribe ratios of 17.37 and 13.42, respectively) and low ratios (the Chevron Corp. and El Paso Corp.’s fine-to-bribe ratios were 1.5 and 1.41, respectively). This group, however, faced an average fine-to-bribe ratio of 3.22, suggesting a non-voluntarily disclosing company might expect a fine of only $3.22 per dollar bribed, compared to the voluntary disclosure group’s 4.53. This ratio would be even lower had it included the disproportionately low fine-to-bribe ratios levied in the cases against Siemens AG and KBR, which I dismissed as outliers.

Remaining Questions

Given the bribe-to-fine ratios in the published cases in recent years, the Justice Department appears not to be following up with its promised benefits. The seemingly disproportionate bribe-to-fine ratios outlined above raise questions about whether current FCPA enforcement is fundamentally fair.

Many thanks,

Bruce Hinchey

______________________

Bruce is a lawyer completing an LLM in government procurement law at the George Washington University Law School. His paper, "Punishing the Penitent: Disproportionate Fines in Recent FCPA Enforcements and Suggested Improvements," can be downloaded at SSRN here.

It was generous of Bruce to share his work with us and our readers. Thank you, Bruce, for blowing our mind.

He's currently looking for a position in an FCPA defense and government contracts practice and can be reached at bhinchey@law.gwu.edu

Monday
Dec072009

Five Indicted For Haiti Telco Bribes

The Justice Department announced on Monday the indictment of five people -- including two Florida executives, a Florida-based agent, and two former Haitian telco officials -- for their roles in a bribery scheme. The executives and agent were charged under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other laws; the former Haitian telco officials were charged with money laundering.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits corrupt payments to foreign officials, including employees of state-owned businesses such as the Haitian telco. Foreign officials, however, can't be punished under the FCPA and in the past haven't been included in indictments involving FCPA offenses. In this case, the DOJ could bring money-laundering counts against the former Haitian officials because they also live in Florida and committed the alleged offenses while there. The charges against them will put other foreign bribe-takers on notice of the DOJ's ever more aggressive anti-corruption strategy.

The DOJ said the Florida executives are Joel Esquenazi, 53, of Miami, president of a Florida company identified in the indictment as privately-held "Company X," and Carlos Rodriguez, 53, the former executive vice president of the company. They were each charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of FCPA violations, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 12 counts of money laundering. Both are U.S. citizens.

The two Haitian foreign officials are Robert Antoine, 61, of Miami and Haiti, a former director of international relations at Haiti’s state-owned Telecommunications D’Haiti. He's charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Jean Rene Duperval, 43, of Miramar, Florida and Haiti, is also a former director of international relations at Telecommunications D’Haiti. He's charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 12 counts of money laundering.

The fifth person charged is Duperval's sister, Marguerite Grandison, 40, also of Miramar. She was the president of Telecom Consulting Services Corp., an intermediary for the alleged bribe payments. She's charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and commit wire fraud, seven substantive FCPA violations, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 12 counts of money laundering. She's a permanent resident of the U.S.

The Justice Department said the indictment was unsealed on Monday after Duperval's initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Miami. He was arrested in Haiti on December 5 by a special unit of the Haitian National Police. The DOJ didn't describe the legal means used to bring Duperval from Haiti to the U.S. to face the charges. Rodriguez and Grandison also appeared in court on Monday in Miami.  Arrest warrants have been issued for Antoine and Esquenazi, who apparently are at large.

According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly participated in a scheme to commit foreign bribery and money laundering from November 2001 through March 2005, when the Florida telco, Company X, paid more than $800,000 to shell companies for bribes to officials of Telecommunications D’Haiti.

The indictment alleges that Marguerite Grandison's company, Telecom Consulting Services Corp., executed a series of contracts with Telecommunications D’Haiti that allowed the Florida telco's customers to place telephone calls to Haiti. The alleged corrupt payments were authorized by Esquenaz and Rodriguez. The purpose of the bribes, according to the indictment, was to obtain preferred rates, reduce the number of minutes for which payment was owed, and give other discounts, as well as to defraud Haiti of revenue. The defendants allegedly concealed the bribes using shell companies and false records showing the payments were for "consulting services."

The FCPA conspiracy and wire fraud counts carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value gained or lost. The substantive FCPA counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $100,000 or twice the value gained or lost. The conspiracy to commit money laundering count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. The money laundering counts each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. The indictment also contains a criminal forfeiture count.

In April 2009, Antonio Perez, the former controller of Marguerite Grandison's company, Telecom Consulting Services Corp., pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA and money laundering for his role in the payment of bribes to former officials of Telecommunications D’Haiti. In May 2009, Juan Diaz, the president of J.D. Locator Services, a shell intermediary company, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and money laundering. He admitted receiving more than $1 million in bribe money from telecommunication companies.  He also admitted laundering the money for a former Haitian government official. Diaz is scheduled to be sentenced on January 29, 2010. Perez was scheduled to be sentenced on October 6, 2009. He has not been sentenced and no new sentencing date has been reported. See our post here.

Also in Apri this year, Latin Node Inc., a privately held Florida corporation in the telecommunications business, pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection with improper payments in Honduras and Yemen. Latinode agreed to pay a $2 million fine and to cooperate with investigators in the U.S. and other countries.

As the Justice Department says, an indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Download the DOJ's December 7, 2009 release here.

Download a copy of the indictment in US v. Esquenazi et al here.