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Florida firm tied to foreign bribery

Indictment also names onetime Haitian officials

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Florida company, its president and director, the president of a second firm and two former Haitian government officials were named Wednesday in an indictment that accuses them of having roles in a foreign bribery, wire fraud and money laundering scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who heads the Justice Department's Criminal Division, said the defendants' scheme ran from December 2001 to January 2006 and paid more than $1.4 million to shell companies for bribing officials of Haiti's state-owned national telecommunications company, Telecommunications D'Haiti.

Named in the indictment were Cinergy Telecommunications Inc.; president Washington Vasconez Cruz, 63, of Miami; director Amadeus Richers, 60, of Pembroke Pines, Fla.; Florida-based Telecom Consulting Services Corp.; and Marguerite Grandison, 42, of Miramar, Fla., president of Telecom Consulting Services Corp.

Also accused in the case were Haitians Patrick Joseph, 49, of Miami, former general director for telecommunications at Haiti Teleco, and Jean Rene Duperval, 44, of Miramar, Fla., former director of international relations for telecommunications at Haiti Teleco.

The indictment alleges that Cinergy and its related company, Uniplex Telecommunications Inc., executed a series of contracts with Haiti Teleco that allowed the companies customers to place telephone calls to Haiti. According to the indictment, the bribe payments were authorized by Mr. Vasconez Cruz and Mr. Richers and were paid to Haitian government officials at Haiti Teleco.

According to the indictment, the bribes were used to obtain various business advantages from the Haitian officials for Cinergy and Uniplex, including preferred telecommunications rates and credits toward sums owed. To conceal the bribe payments, the indictment said the defendants used various shell companies to receive and forward the payments, including J.D. Locator Services, Fourcand Enterprises and Telecom Consulting Services.

Mr. Vasconez Cruz and Mr. Richers were charged with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering.

Cinergy Telecommunications, a privately-held telecommunications company incorporated in Florida, is charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud, six counts of FCPA violations, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering;

Mr. Joseph is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; Mr. Duperval and Ms. Grandison each are charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 19 counts of money laundering.

The indictment also accused Mr. Duperval and Mr. Grandison with laundering corrupt payments on behalf of another Florida telecommunications company.

Three others involved in the suspected conspiracy already have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison terms.

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