United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al. (Haiti Teleco)

Case materials from the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prosecution of Joel Esquenazi, United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al., No. 09-21010-CR-JEM.

Brief filed: 08/14/2014


United States v. Joel Esquenazi, et al. (Haiti Teleco)

S.D. Fla.; Case No. 09-21010-CR-JEM


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.

Esquenazi filed an appeal in the 11th Circuit, challenging the government’s interpretation of who counts as a “foreign official” under the FCPA.  Specifically, he 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 issued an opinion affirming the convictions on May 16, 2014.

Esquenazi filed a petition for writ of certiorari on August 14, 2014. Professor Michael Koehler filed an amicus brief in support of the petition, as did the Washington Legal Foundation (WLF amicus). On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari.

For a highly detailed timeline of the proceedings in this case, visit FCPAProfessor.com.

More documents from DOJ


"Supreme Court declines hearing key FCPA case Esquenazi," Inside Counsel, October 7, 2014.

"Esquenazi and Rodriguez file petition for Supreme Court review," The FCPA Blog, August 15, 2014.

Appeals Court Clarifies Who Counts as a Foreign Official under the FCPA," The Wall Street Journal Law Blog, May 16, 2014.

Continue reading below

"11th Circuit Affirms Esquenazi/Rodriguez Convictions - Defines 'Instrumentality'," FCPA Professor, May 16, 2014. [Opinion]

"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.

Continue reading below

Featured Products

"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].