Jean Rene Duperval
MIAMI, Florida. 14 March 2012. — A former senior telecommunications official in Haiti has been convicted in federal court in Miami for accepting US$500,000 in bribes from two U.S. companies that secured lucrative long-distance phone contracts in the Caribbean nation, authorities said on Tuesday.
Jean Rene Duperval, a former director of international relations at Haiti Teleco, Haiti’s state-run telecommunications company, was prosecuted as part of a broader investigation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits U.S.-linked firms from bribing foreign officials.
Duperval gave out business in exchange for bribes and then used South Florida shell companies to conceal his crimes. Duperval was the eighth defendant involved in the corruption scheme to be convicted so far, prosecutors said.
Last year, the former president of Florida-based Terra Telecommunications Corp was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his involvement in a scheme to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to officials in Haiti. Prosecutors said that from November 2001 through March 2005 the company paid more than US$890,000 to shell companies to be used as kickbacks to Haitian government officials.
Terra sought to obtain business advantages through the bribes, including preferred telecoms rates, prosecutors said.
U.S. officials have also charged former company executives at a second company, Cinergy Telecommunications Inc.
Haiti Teleco, which was privatized in 2010 and is now controlled by a Vietnamese military-run company Viettel, was the sole provider of land line telephone service in Haiti.