March 2, 2021

DOJ charges two in Ecuador FCPA and money laundering case

On March 2, 2021, the US Department of Justice announced charges against two Ecuadorian nationals for their alleged participation in a bribery and money laundering scheme in Ecuador and the United States.

According to the criminal complaints, while serving as manager, president and director of several investment fund companies in the US, Jorge Cherrez Miño paid over $2.6 million in bribes to officials at Ecuador’s public police pension fund, the Instituto de Seguridad Social de la Policia Nacional (“ISSPOL”) between 2014 and 2020.  Cherrez’s co-defendant, John Robert Luzuriaga Aguinaga, allegedly received nearly $1.4 million from Cherrez while employed as Risk Director and Investment Committee member of ISSPOL, in exchange for directing investment business to Cherrez and entities controlled by him.  ISSPOL investments handled by Cherrez took the form of swap transactions and bond repurchase transactions, and resulted in windfall profits for Cherrez’s companies, and significantly lower gains for ISSPOL.  As alleged by the DOJ, Luzuriaga received payments from Cherrez directly by checks made out to him, by payments to Luzuriaga’s relatives, and via debit card withdrawals from a US-based bank account held by Cherrez.

Cherrez and Luzuriaga have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  

DOJ press release | Complaint (Cherrez) | Complaint (Luzuriaga)