FCPA enforcement and the prosecution of individuals continues to be a key area of focus for the Department of Justice. This week the Department filed a superseding indictment against two business men caught on tape by undercover agents discussing the bribery of Haitian officials in an effort to secure business. U.S. v. Baptiste, No. 1:17-cr-10305 (D. Mass.).
Roger Boncy, a business man based in Madrid, Spain was named in a superseding indictment along with co-defendant Joseph Baptiste, a resident of Maryland. The indictment alleges one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Travel Act, one count of violating the Travel Act and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The charges are based on allegations that the two defendants solicited bribes from undercover agents posing as potential investors tied to a proposed development project for a port in the Mole St. Nicolas area of Haiti. The project involved the construction of multiple cement factories, a shipping-vessel recycling station, an international transshipment station with numerous slips for vessels, a power plant, a petroleum depot and tourist facilities. Estimated cost was $84 million.
Messrs. Boncy and Baptiste, at a meeting in a Boston hotel, told agents that to secure government approval for the project they planned to channel payments to Haitian officials. The bribes would be transmitted through a Maryland based non-profit controlled by Mr. Baptiste. The meeting was recorded.
Messrs. Boncy and Baptiste also discussed bribing an aid to a high-level elected official in Haiti who had a position on the port development project. The purpose was to secure the assistance of the official in authorizing the project. The telephone discussion was intercepted and recorded. Mr. Baptiste is scheduled to begin trial on December 3, 2018 in Boston.