Last week, Jorge Granados, former chief executive officer of Miami-based Latin Node, Inc. (Latinode) pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay bribes to government officials in Honduras. This is the latest chapter in the on-going saga of Latinode and its former executives who allegedly violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to officials of state owned Honduran telecommunications companies.
- Latinode provided telecommunications services to Honduras and Yemen. Granados admitted that he authorized bribe payments. From March 2004 to June 2007, Latinode paid or caused to be paid US$2,249,543 directly or through third-parties, knowing that some or all of the funds would be passed on as bribes to “foreign officials” including officials of Honduran telecommunications companies, which qualified as state owned entities (SOE) under the FCPA. Latinode admitted that it made these payments in exchange for obtaining an agreement with the Honduran SOE and for reducing the rate charged under the agreements with the Honduran SOE. Each payment was made from Latinode’s Miami bank account and was approved by Latinode senior executives. Granados is the fourth former senior executive of Latinode to plead guilty in the case.
- Granados faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or more.
- In 2009, Latinode pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging the company with a criminal violation of the FCPA. As part of the plea agreement, Latinode paid a $2 million fine. The DOJ represented that the investigation’s resolution reflected, “in large part,” the acts of eLandia International, Inc. (eLandia), Latinode’s corporate parent, in disclosing the potential violations to the DOJ after eLandia’s acquisition of Latinode. eLandia promptly voluntarily disclosed to the DOJ the conduct after discovering it, conducted an internal investigation, shared the internal investigation’s factual results with the DOJ, cooperated fully with the DOJ in its investigation and took remedial action including terminating senior Latinode management with involvement in or knowledge of the violations, which included Granados.