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Guilty Pleas In Haiti Bribery Case

Two Florida men have admitted bribing employees of Haiti’s state-owned telephone company in return for better rates for Miami-based communications firms.

Juan Diaz, 51, of Miami, pleaded guilty Friday to a one-count criminal information. He was charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by conspiring to make corrupt payments to officials from Telecommunications D’Haiti. He paid and concealed $1,028,851 in bribes while acting as an intermediary for three private telecommunications companies.

Antonio Perez, 51, of Miami, the former controller of one of the U.S. telecos, pleaded guilty on April 27, 2009, to a one-count information charging him with conspiring to bribe officials at Telecommunications D’Haiti. Perez arranged bribes of $674,193 to the Haitian officials while he worked at the company from March 1998 to January 2002.

The government said Diaz and Perez admitted they conspired to make “side payments” through a shell company belonging to Diaz. The bribes went to Telecommunications D’Haiti’s ex-director general and ex-director of international relations.

Diaz and Perez each face up to five years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain produced by their bribes. The government said its investigation is ongoing.

The Justice Department hasn’t released the names of the U.S. companies involved in the case. In late April, Latin Node Inc., another 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.

Download a copy of the DOJ’s May 15, 2009 release here.

Download a copy of the April 22, 2009 criminal information against Juan Diaz here.

Download a copy of the April 22, 2009 criminal information against Antonio Perez here.

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