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Ex-Haitian telecom executive jailed in U.S. for bribery, money laundering

MIAMI, Florida – United States District Judge Jose E. Martinez has imposed a nine-year jail term on Jean Rene Duperval, a former senior executive at Haiti's state-run telecommunications company.

Duperval, 45, was jailed last month after he was found guilty on money laundering charges linked to nearly $500,000 in bribes he accepted from U.S.-based
companies. Duperval, who served as international relations director for eight months at Telecommunications D'Haiti, better known as Haiti Teleco, was found guilty of money laundering offenses by a jury here in March. He is one of eight people convicted so far in a massive case brought by the Justice Department under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Robert Antoine, one of Duperval’s predecessors, was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty and admitting he received more than $1 million in similar bribes.

NOTABLE

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Koukios said Duperval’s crimes were notable because he came from a prominent Haitian family with access to wealth and
advantage. He was appointed to the Haiti Teleco position in 2003 by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
“This is a person who didn’t have to steal. He didn’t have to take that money. But he did,” Koukios said, adding “that was money for the people of Haiti. It wasn't for Mr. Duperval.” The court was told that the payments were intended to give certain U.S. telecommunications companies favorable
rates and contracts with Haiti Teleco.

But Duperval told the court the payments through shell companies he controlled from Miami-based Cinergy Telecommunications and Terra Telecommunications were not bribes but only “tokens of appreciation” for doing his job well. But the judge called that testimony “ludicrous” before finding Duperval had committed perjury on the witness stand, grounds for adding to his sentence.

Duperval, who used the bribe money for personal expenses such as mortgage payments and children’s education costs, also was ordered to forfeit more than
$433,000 in assets. He did not speak at last month’s hearing, but his wife, Ingrid Duperval, asked for mercy. Duperval, has three children and a home in Miramar, Florida.

“He is the best father, the best son, the best husband, any woman could dream to have,” she said.

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