FCPA Case: U.S. v. Esquenazi (Haiti Teleco)

In 2011, Joel Esquenazi, former president of Terra Telecommunications Corp., a Florida-based telecom, and his colleagues were convicted for their involvement in a scheme to bribe officials of Haiti’s state-owned telecom company. After a jury trial, they were found guilty of seven counts of violating the FCPA, 12 counts of money laundering, one count of money laundering conspiracy, and one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and wire fraud. Esquenazi received a sentence of 15 years imprisonment, the longest sentence ever to be given under the FCPA. He filed an appeal in the 11th Circuit, challenging the government’s interpretation of who counts as a “foreign official” under the FCPA.  Specifically, Esquenazi argued that, when enacting the FCPA, Congress intended the phrase “foreign official” to include only traditional government officials, not employees of state-owned enterprises. The 11th Circuit held oral argument in October 2013 and the case is currently pending.

News

"Appeals Judges Probe for Definition of 'Instrumentality' in Key FCPA Case," The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2013.

"FCPA 'Foreign Official' Question Reaches Appellate Spotlight in Esquenazi Case," The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2013.

"'Foreign Official' Challenge Reaches 11th Circuit," The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2012.

"Haiti Teleco Roundup," FCPA Professor Blog, March 22, 2012.

"Stunning Haiti Teleco Development," FCPA Professor Blog, August 29, 2011.

"Government's Vigorous Prosecution of FCPA Violators Continues When Jury Convicts Two Telecommunications Executives for Violations Relating to Haiti," Federal Securities Law Blog, August 8, 2011 [Additional coverage here Case].

Defense Filings

Brief of Appellant, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, No. 11-15331 (7th Cir. May 9, 2012) 

Defendant Joel Esquenazi’s Motion to Dismiss Indictment for Failure to State a CriminalOffense and for Vagueness, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM (S.D. Fla. Nov. 2, 2010) 

Government Filings

Second Superseding Indictment, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM (S.D. Fla. Jan. 20, 2012) 

Government’s Consolidated Response in Opposition to Defendants’ Motions for Judgment of Acquittal or New Trial, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM (S.D. Fla. Sept. 12, 2011) 

Government’s Supplemental Response to The Standing Discovery Order, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM (S.D. Fla. Aug. 29, 2011) 

Superseding Indictment, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM (S.D. Fla. July 13, 2011) 

Government’s Objection to Defendant Rodriquez’s Proposed Instruction Regarding “Foreign Official” and “Instrumentality,” United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM (S.D. Fla. July 10, 2011) 

Government’s Response in Opposition to Defendant Esquenazi’s Corrected and Amended Motion to Dismiss Indictment for Failure to State a Criminal Offense and for Vagueness, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM (S.D. Fla. Nov. 17, 2010)  

Indictment, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-MGC (S.D. Fla. Dec. 8, 2009) 

Information for Juan Diaz, United States v. Juan Diaz, No. 09-cr-20346-JEM (S.D. Fla. April 22, 2009) 

Information for Antonio Perez, United States v. Antonio Perez, No. 09-cr-20347-JEM (S.D. Fla. April 22, 2009) 

Court Orders & Transcripts

Order of Dismissal, United States v. Cinergy Telecommunications, Inc., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM (S.D. Fla. Feb. 24, 2012) 

Order Denying Defendants’ Motion for Judgment of Acquittal or New Trial, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM (S.D. Fla. Oct. 14, 2011) 

Order Denying Defendant Joel Esquenazi’s (Corrected and Amended) Motion to Dismiss Indictment for Failure to State a Criminal Offense and for Vagueness, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM (S.D. Fla. Nov. 19, 2010) 

 

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