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Esquenazi Decision Provides a Little More Clarity on FCPA

Tom Fox | June 17, 2014

Last month, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ground-breaking decision on a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case that will have lasting effects and provides some clarity on the definition of an important aspect of the law—what constitutes a “foreign official.”

In an opinion released on May 16, the court upheld the convictions of Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and certain U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) laws.

The two had engaged in a long-running bribery scheme with the Haitian telephone company, Telecommunications d'Haiti. The pair were convicted and sentenced to lengthy jail terms—15 years for Esquenazi and 7 years for Rodriguez.

This opinion was the first time that a court of appeals had reviewed the FCPA question of what is an “instrumentality” under the Act. Both defendants...

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