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Two convicted for Haiti FCPA offenses

The chairman and CEO of an investment firm and a member of the firm’s board of directors were found guilty by a federal jury in Boston Thursday for their role in a scheme to bribe Haitian officials to secure approval for an $84 million construction project. 

Roger Richard Boncy, 74, a dual U.S. and Haitian citizen who lives in Madrid, Spain, and Joseph Baptiste, 66, of Fulton, Maryland, were found guilty after a two-week jury trial.

Boncy and Baptiste were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one count of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act, the DOJ said

Baptiste was also convicted of one count of violating the Travel Act and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  

Boncy and Baptiste solicited bribes from undercover agents posing as potential investors in a proposed port development project in the Mȏle St. Nicolas area of Haiti.

Agents recorded Boncy and Baptiste in a Boston hotel. They allegedly told the agents they would route payments through a non-profit controlled by Baptiste to Haitian officials to secure approval for the port project, the DOJ said.  

The Maryland-based non-profit was purportedly set up to help impoverished residents of Haiti.

The DOJ also intercepted telephone calls between Boncy and Baptiste. They allegedly discussed a plan to bribe an aide to a high-level elected official in Haiti with a job on the port development project.

The aide was expected to help them obtain the elected official’s authorization for the project. 

The $84 million Mȏle St. Nicolas project was supposed to include development of a cement factory, ship-handling areas, a power plant, a petroleum depot, and tourist facilities.

“We will continue to target Americans who try to bribe foreign public officials for business advantage,” U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said Thursday. 

Boncy and Baptiste are scheduled to be sentenced on September 12.

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Harry Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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