On February 28, 2020, Roberto Barrera, an Ecuadorian businessman, was sentenced in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida to twenty-three months in prison, after pleading guilty in October 2019 to one count of conspiracy to launder money in connection with the bribery of foreign officials at the Empresa Pública de Hidrocarburos del Ecuador (PetroEcuador), the state-owned oil company of Ecuador.
According to the factual proffer tendered in support of his guilty plea, Barrera conspired with PetroEcuador officials and others in a scheme to transmit millions of dollars in bribes to the foreign officials in order to influence them to help an Ecuadorian oil services company obtain lucrative contracts with PetroEcuador. The proffer also describes Barrera’s efforts to launder the proceeds of the bribery scheme through bank accounts in Florida and through the purchase of luxury goods in Florida. As part of his plea, Barrera agreed to forfeit $150,000, representing the amount he received in connection with the bribery scheme, according to his factual proffer.
Barrera is the third defendant to be sentenced in the PetroEcuador case. Twelve individuals have pleaded guilty.