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September 15, 2011
The ex-chief executive officer of Latin Node Inc. (LatiNode), the Florida-based telecommunications company was recently sentenced to serve 46 months in prison as he was found guilty on the charges of paying bribes to former government officials in Honduras. The announcement was made by the Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Following his prison term, Jorge Granados of Miami will also have to serve two years of supervised release based upon the judgment passed by United States District Judge Joan A. Lenard for the Southern District of Florida also ordered
On May 19, 2011, the 55 year old Granados pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The charge was leveled against him in connection with a scheme to pay Honduran officials more than $500,000 in bribes. As of now, four former senior executives of LatiNode have also pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay bribes to the Honduran officials.
Granados admitted to having authorized corrupt payments to foreign government officials. The purpose behind these bribes was to secure business advantages for LatiNode from Honduras’s state-owned telecommunications company, Empresa Hondureña de Telecomunicaciones (Hondutel). Based on the information provided by the court documents, LatiNode offered wholesale telecommunications services using Internet protocol technology to Honduras as well as other countries across the world. LatiNode learned in December 2005, that it was the sole winner of an “interconnection agreement” with Hondutel, which meant that LatiNode now had access to use Hondutel’s telecommunications lines to establish a network between Honduras and the United States as well as to provide long distance services between the two countries.
Court documents confirmed that Granados and other LatiNode executives such as Manuel Salvoch, the chief financial officer; Manuel Caceres, the vice president for business development and Juan Pablo Vasquez, the chief commercial officer had secretly agreed to a deal to pay bribes to Hondutel officials which included the general manager, a senior attorney for Hondutel and a minister of the Honduran government who also became a representative on the Hondutel Board of Directors.
Principal Deputy Chief Jeffrey H. Knox and Trial Attorney Amanda Aikman of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted this case.
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Carolyn John is a Contributor to TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves