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Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A 15-year prison term for a former telecom executive

The Associated Press

The former president of a Miami telecommunications company has been sentenced to a record 15-year prison term in a Haitian bribery case.

Prosecutors say the sentence imposed Wednesday on 52-year-old Joel Esquenazi was the longest ever under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Another former executive at Terra Telecommunications Corp. received an eight-year sentence.

The two were convicted in August of money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to violate the anti-corruption law.

Court records show they paid $890,000 into shell companies used to bribe Haitian officials. The goal was for Terra to gain advantage over competitors for business with Haiti's state-owned communications company. The scheme ran from November 2001 to March 2005.

Four other people have been convicted and sent to prison. Five others are charged in a separate indictment.

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