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Unsealed: US v. Salvoch

As reported first today by the FCPA Professor, the former CFO of Latin Node Inc. (LatiNode) was charged in December in a sealed criminal information with conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

Manuel Salvoch was arrested on January 11 and pleaded guilty the next day, when the court record was unsealed. As Mike Koehler pointed out, the DOJ didn’t say anything publicly about the case.

In December, the DOJ announced the arrest of two other former executives of Miami-based telecommunications company LatiNode. They were charged with paying more than $500,000 in bribes to government officials in Honduras.

Jorge Granados, 54, the company’s former CEO, and Manuel Caceres, 64, a former vice president, were indicted on December 14 by a federal grand jury. They face one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, 12 counts of violating the FCPA, five counts of money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment also asks for criminal forfeiture.

The DOJ alleged the defendants and others at LatiNode agreed to bribe a manager of the state-owned telecommunications company Empresa Hondureña de Telecomunicaciones, known as Hondutel, and a senior attorney for Hondutel who acted as the manager’s “straw man,” and a minister of the Honduran government who became a representative on the Hondutel board of directors.

Salvoch faces up to five years in prison and fine of $250,000 or more, and three years of supervised released. But the criminal information — instead of an indictment — and his unannounced plea deal indicate he’s been helping the government make its case against Grandados and Caceres. Their trial is set to start in September.

How much sentencing credit will Salvoch receive as a cooperating witness? That’s up to the DOJ. Here’s what his plea agreement says:

The [Justice] Department reserves the right to evaluate the nature and extent of the defendant’s cooperation and to make the defendant’s cooperation, or lack thereof, known to the Court at the time of sentencing. If, in the sole and unreviewable judgment of the Department, defendant’s cooperation is of such quality and significance to the investigation or prosecution of other criminal matters as to warrant the Court’s downward departure from the sentence required by the Sentencing Guidelines, the Department may at or before sentencing make a motion pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 3553(e), Section 5Kl.l of the Sentencing Guidelines, and/or Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure subsequent to sentencing,
reflecting that the defendant has provided substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of other criminal matters, the extent of any assistance provided, and a recommendation for sentence reduction. The defendant acknowledges and agrees, however, that nothing in this agreement may be construed to require the Department to file such a motion and that the Department’s assessment of the nature, value, truthfulness, completeness, and accuracy of the defendant’s cooperation shall be binding on the defendant.

Download the December 17, 2010 criminal information U.S. v. Manuel Salvoch, Court Docket Number: 10-CR-20893 here.

Download Salvoch’s January 12, 2011 plea agreement here.

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