April 29, 2024

Florida jury convicts former Comptroller General of Ecuador in bribery and money laundering scheme

On April 24, 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that former Comptroller General of Ecuador Carlos Ramon Polit Faggioni had been convicted by a federal jury in Florida for his participation in a multimillion-dollar bribery and money laundering scheme.  Polit was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, three counts of concealment money laundering, and two counts of engaging in transactions in criminally derived property.  Polit will be sentenced at a later date.

According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Polit served as Comptroller General from approximately 2007 to 2017 and was responsible for protecting Ecuador’s public funds from fraud and corruption.  However, between approximately 2010 and 2014, Polit allegedly abused his position by soliciting and receiving more than $10 million in bribe payments from Brazil-based construction conglomerate Odebrecht SA in exchange for not imposing or removing fines by the comptroller’s office on Odebrecht projects in Ecuador.  According to the DOJ, Polit also accepted bribes from an unnamed Ecuadorian businessman in exchange for helping him obtain contracts with Seguros Sucre SA, the state-owned insurance company of Ecuador.  The DOJ further alleged that from 2010 until at least 2017, Polit conspired with others to launder the bribe payments through bank accounts in the Southern District of Florida, and by purchasing real estate in South Florida.

In 2016, Odebrecht and affiliated petrochemical company Braskem SA reached a $3.5 billion settlement with U.S., Brazilian, and Swiss officials to resolve allegations that the company paid approximately $800 million in bribes to government officials in 12 countries, including Ecuador.  As part of the settlement, Odebrecht pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provision of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).  In 2022, the DOJ announced that Polit had been indicted for his role in the international bribery and laundering scheme.

DOJ Press Release | Indictment | Verdict