News

Former Haiti Teleco Official Convicted in Miami for Money Laundering, Bribes

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 13, 2012

Above: the Federal Courthouse in Miami

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jean Rene Duperval, a former director of international relations for Haiti’s state-owned Telecommunications D’Haiti SAM, has been convicted by a federal jury for his role in a scheme to launder bribes paid to him by two Miami-based telecom firms, according to United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo Ferrer.

Duperval was convicted on all counts by the jury following a week-long trial. The jury reached its verdict Monday after less than three hours of deliberations.

“To conceal the payment and receipt of bribes, Duperval participated in a money laundering scheme to funnel about half a million dollars to two shell companies under his control,” Ferrer said. “This verdict confirms that American taxpayers will not tolerate bribery, either at home or abroad, to obtain unfair business advantages.”

Duperval laundered $500,000 paid to him as part of the scheme, according to Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

“As the director of international relations for Haiti’s state-owned telecommunications company, Duperval doled out business in exchange for bribes, and then used South Florida shell companies to conceal his crimes,” Breuer said. “This Justice Department is committed to stamping out corruption wherever we find it.”

Duperval, 45, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering, in violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Haitian bribery law and the wire fraud statute.

Duperval was the director of Haiti Teleco, Haiti’s only provider of land-line telephone service.

According to trial evidence, two Miami firms had a series of contracts with Haiti Teleco that gave their customers the opportunity to place telephone calls to Haiti.

Each money laundering count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and the conspiracy to commit money laundering count carries a maximum of 20 years and a fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction.

Duperval was the eight defendant to be convicted in the scheme, including Jean Fourcand, president and director of Fourcand Enterprises and Robert Antoine, former director of international affairs for Haiti Teleco.

The US Attorney’s office said Haiti’s financial intelligence unit and the Haitian Ministry of Justice provided “significant” cooperation in the investigation.

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