Former Honduran Telecom Managing Director Marcelo Chimirri has been acquitted by the Honduras Supreme Court of charges of bribery, fraud and abuse of authority.
Chimirri, a nephew of deposed president Manuel Zelaya, was involved in the LatiNode case. The Miami-based company pleaded guilty in 2009 to conspiracy to violate the FCPA. Four executives also pleaded guilty and two were sentenced to prison. They admitted paying $1.9 million in bribes to Honduran officials in exchange for preferential rates on international long distance calls. LatiNode paid a $2 million fine to settle the FCPA criminal conspiracy count.
In Chimirri’s prosecution in Honduras, the court refused to admit documents sent by the U.S. government and signed by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The documents, which reportedly included a cancelled check, allegedly implicated Chimirri. But the evidence was ruled to be inadmissible for technical reasons relating to ‘the legal requirements for international assistance.’
Honduras ranks 133 on the Corruption Perceptions Index. Fighting corruption is widely seen to be the best way to tackle drug trafficking, increasing violence, and political instability that has hampered growth.
Maria Dolores Hernandez J. is a researcher for ethiXbase.