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Haiti arrests and expels former Haiti Telecommunications Official for US corruption – Related Charges

PORT-AU-PRINCE-  The U.S. Embassy congratulates the Government of Haiti on  the successful arrest and expulsion this weekend  Jean Rene Duperval, a former  Haiti Telecommunications (“Haiti Teleco”) senior official.  The arrest and expulsion come as part of successful cooperation between the Ministry of Justice, the Bureau des Affaires Financieres et Economiques (BAFE), the United States Department of Justice and United States Internal Revenue Service in an on-going investigation into bribery of officials at Haiti Teleco by U.S. individuals and companies.

“Corruption is deeply damaging both to Haiti and to the United States,” said U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten.  “We appreciate the Haitian Government’s cooperation on this case.”

Working in close cooperation, U.S. and Haitian authorities have secured evidence supporting charges against former executives of a U.S. telecommunications company, a U.S. intermediary, and  Duperval for crimes of conspiracy, bribery, and money laundering.  United States authorities have made formal requests for evidence through the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and have worked together with the BAFE and Unité Centrale de Renseignements Financiers (UCREF).

Officers of the BAFE arrested Duperval on the basis of U.S. arrest warrant charging him with money laundering, and based on a request from the United States.   Duperval was transferred to the custody of agents of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service in Port-au-Prince, and was then transferred to Miami and given to the custody of the United States Marshals Service.  Duperval is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and twelve counts of money laundering.  According to the court papers, from November 2001 through March 2005, a U.S. telecommunications company paid over $800,000 through shell companies to Duperval and another Teleco official.  In exchange, Duperval provided the U.S. telecommunication company with a variety of business advantages, including preferred telecommunications rates, reduced payments, and credits toward sums owed.  These actions deprived the Republic of Haiti of much-needed revenue.

Under U.S. law, the conspiracy to commit money laundering count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. The money laundering counts each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction.  There is a possibility that the defendants, if convicted, would have to pay restitution for their crimes, which would be returned to Haiti Teleco. (End of Text)

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Winsome Murphy