MIAMI, FLORIDA (BNO NEWS) – A former official of the Republic of Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy, prosecutors said Friday.
Robert Antoine, 62, of Miami and Haiti, accepted bribes from three U.S. telecommunications companies, defrauding Telecommunications D’Haiti (Haiti Teleco), admitting that $800,000 of these bribes were intended to be given to him.
Antoine was the director of international affairs for Haiti’s state-owned national telecommunications company, Haiti Teleco from May 2001 to April 2003. He disguised the origin of the aforementioned funds by laundering them through intermediary companies, including J.D. Locator Services and Fourcand Enterprises.
Juan Diaz, the president of J.D. Locator, pleaded guilty on May 15, 2009, to conspiracy to commit violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and money laundering, and Jean Fourcand of Fourcand Enterprises, pleaded guilty on Feb. 19, 2010, to money laundering.
The $800,000 that Antoine was to receive was from a U.S. telecommunications company for which Joel Esquenazi was the president and director, Carlos Rodriguez was the executive vice president, and Antonio Perez was, at times, the controller. Perez pleaded guilty on Apr. 27, 2009, to conspiring to commit FCPA violations and money laundering.
Esquenazi and Rodriguez, as well as Jean Rene Duperval, who was director of international relations of Haiti Teleco, and Duperval’s sister, Marguerite Grandison, were indicted along with Antoine on Dec. 4, 2009.
Antoine will be facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction at his sentencing on May 27, 2010. Antoine also agreed to a forfeiture order of $1,580,771.
“The IRS is committed to enforcing the anti-money laundering laws and will continue to work with our international partners to investigate violations worldwide,” said Special Agent in Charge Daniel W. Auer. “Haitian law enforcement should be commended for their commitment and professionalism throughout this investigation.”