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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.

He pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying more than $500,000 in bribes.

Four senior executives of LatiNode, the DOJ said, have pleaded guilty to FCPA conspiracy charges.

Granados, 55, admitted authorizing bribes to officials from Honduras’s state-owned telecommunications company, Empresa Hondureña de Telecomunicaciones (Hondutel). In 2005, LatiNode won an exclusive “interconnection agreement” with Hondutel for long-distance phone service between Honduras and the U.S.

Granados, Manuel Salvoch, LatiNode’s chief financial officer, Manuel Caceres, the vice president for business development, and Juan Pablo Vasquez, the chief commercial officer, agreed in 2006 and 2007 to bribe a general manager at Hondutel, a senior attorney, and a Honduran government minister who served on Hondutel’s board.

The defendants laundered the $500,000 bribe money through LatiNode subsidiaries in Guatemala and accounts in Honduras controlled by the Honduran officials.

LatiNode pleaded guilty in 2009 to a criminal information with one count of violating the FCPA. It agreed to pay a $2 million fine. LatiNode’s parent, eLandia International Inc., discovered the bribery when it acquired Latinode in 2007. It self-disclosed the payments to the DOJ.

Salvoch and Vasquez pleaded guilty in January this year and are scheduled to be sentenced on December 7 and 8 respectively. Caceres pleaded guilty in May and is scheduled to be sentenced on November 28. They all face up to five years in prison for conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

View the DOJ’s September 8, 2011 release here.

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