Wednesday, July 19, 2017
The former general manager of a Miami-based telecommunications company pleaded guilty today for his role in a scheme to pay $3 million in bribes to various Haitian officials to secure a lucrative contract with Telecommunications D’Haiti (Haiti Teleco), the state-owned and state-controlled telecommunications company in Haiti.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Miami Field Office made the announcement.
Amadeus Richers, 66, of Brazil, pleaded guilty in federal court in Miami to count one of a second superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). According to admissions in the plea documents, beginning in 2001 and lasting until 2004, Richers and his co-conspirators paid roughly $3 million in bribes directly and indirectly to foreign officials employed by Haiti Teleco and to a foreign official in the executive branch of the Haitian government in order to secure a favorable contract and favorable treatment in connection with that contract from Haiti Teleco. The co-conspirators funneled some of the money through third-party intermediaries and paid other money directly to officials or relatives of officials, Richers admitted.
Richers is the ninth defendant to have pled guilty or to have been convicted at trial in this case. On April 27, 2009, Antonio Perez, a former controller at one of the Miami-based telecommunications companies, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and money laundering. On May 15, 2009, Juan Diaz, the president of J.D. Locator Services, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and money laundering. On Feb. 19, 2010, Jean Fourcand, the president and director of Fourcand Enterprises Inc., pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering for receiving and transmitting bribe monies in the scheme. On March 12, 2010, Robert Antoine, a former director of international affairs for Haiti Teleco, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. On Aug. 4, 2011, Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, who were the former president and vice-president, respectively, of one of the telecommunications companies, were convicted by a federal jury of one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and wire fraud, seven counts of FCPA violations, one count of money laundering conspiracy and 12 counts of money laundering. On Feb. 8, 2012, Patrick Joseph, a former executive director of Haiti Teleco, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. On March 12, 2012, Jean Rene Duperval, a former director of international relations for Haiti Teleco, was convicted by a federal jury of two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering.
Richers was indicted on July 12, 2011, but remained a fugitive until his arrest and ultimately his extradition from Panama on February 23. Richers will be sentenced on September 20.
The Department of Justice is grateful to the government of Haiti for continuing to provide substantial assistance in gathering evidence during this investigation. In particular, Haiti’s financial intelligence unit, the Unité Centrale de Renseignements Financiers (UCREF), the Bureau des Affaires Financières et Economiques (BAFE), which is a specialized component of the Haitian National Police, and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security provided significant cooperation and coordination in this ongoing investigation.
The Department of Justice also thanks Panama for its significant assistance in this matter.
IRS-CI is conducting the investigation. Senior Litigation Counsel Nicola Mrazek and Trial Attorney Vanessa Snyder of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance.
The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters. Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/foreign-corrupt-practices-act.