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Two more charged with FCPA conspiracy in PetroEcuador bribe case

Two Ecuador citizens living in Florida were indicted for an FCPA conspiracy and money laundering in an expanding prosecution involving bribery at Ecuador’s state oil company.

A new 11-count indictment (pdf) was reported Monday by the Financial Times. It was filed without an announcement from the DOJ on May 9 in federal court in Miami.

Armengol Alfonso Cevallos Diaz and Jose Melquiades Cisneros Alarcon were charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and nine counts of money laundering.

They allegedly helped pay and launder more than $4 million in bribes to officials at Empresa Pública de Hidrocarburos del Ecuador or PetroEcuador.

So far, at least four other defendants have pleaded guilty in the case.

A former PetroEcuador lawyer who took bribes, Marcelo Reyez Lopez, was sentenced last year to 53 months in prison for a money laundering conspiracy.

And in September 2018, Jose Larrea, a U.S.-based financial advisor and American citizen, also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

Another defendant, Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda, has pleaded not guilty. His case is still pending.

Ripalda, a dual U.S. and Ecuadorian citizen who also lives in Miami, was charged last year with one count of conspiring to violate the FCPA, one count of violating the FCPA, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and two counts of money laundering.

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Richard L. Cassin is editor at large of the FCPA Blog.

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