January 28, 2021

Ecuadorian businessman sentenced in PetroEcuador foreign bribery case

On January 28, 2021, Armengol Alfonso Cevallos Diaz was sentenced in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida to 35 months’ imprisonment and a $35,000 fine based upon his guilty plea to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

According to the factual proffer supporting Cevallos’s January 2020 guilty plea, between 2012 and 2015, Cevallos conspired with others to pay approximately $4.4 million in bribes to officers and employees of Empresa Pública de Hidrocarburos del Ecuador (PetroEcuador) in order to obtain and retain business and to influence PetroEcuador to channel business toward an oil services company for which Cevallos and the Miami-based company that he directed served as agents.  

Cevallos also admitted to devising a scheme to launder the bribe money received by PetroEcuador officials in and through the US, by creating a shell company to receive the bribes, and by facilitating the purchase of Florida real estate for the benefit of PetroEcuador officials, including Marcelo Reyes Lopez.

Cevallos’s co-defendant, Jose Melquiades Cisneros Alarcon, was sentenced in February 2020 to twenty months’ imprisonment for his role in the bribery scheme.  At least twelve individuals have pleaded guilty in cases involving PetroEcuador, and several of them, such as Roberto Barrera and Jose Luis de la Paz Roman, have already been sentenced.

DOJ press release | Judgment | Plea Agreement | Factual Proffer | Indictment