March 13, 2020

New trial for former executives convicted of FCPA violations in Haiti

On March 11, 2020, the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted new trials for Roger Richard Boncy and Joseph Baptiste, two executives who in June 2019 were found guilty of conspiracy to violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and conspiracy to violate the Travel Act for their attempts to bribe Haitian officials to secure the grant of permits needed to advance a port development project.  

The District Court granted the new trial on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel, finding that Baptiste’s counsel’s failure to review discovery and prepare for trial was prejudicial to Baptiste.  The court further found that Baptiste’s counsel’s deficient performance placed undue pressure on Boncy’s counsel, causing him to take on the role of lead counsel for both defendants instead of effectively representing Boncy’s interests alone.  Finally, because neither defendant had a fair trial, the court held that the defendants’ motions for acquittal could not be meaningfully analyzed and so denied them.  A new trial date has not yet been set.