April 2, 2022

Ecuador’s former comptroller general indicted by DOJ for allegedly laundering bribery proceeds

On March 29, 2022, the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida unsealed an indictment against Carlos Ramon Polit Faggioni, the former comptroller general of Ecuador, in which he is charged with money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and transacting in criminally derived property.

As alleged in the March 24, 2022 indictment, between 2010 and 2016 Polit requested and accepted over $10 million in bribes from Odebrecht SA, a Brazilian construction conglomerate, in exchange for using his position as comptroller general to cause the comptroller’s office to take action beneficial to Odebrecht, including by preventing the comptroller’s office from imposing large fines on Odebrecht relating to certain Odebrecht construction projects in Ecuador.  In 2015, Polit also allegedly received a bribe from an Ecuadorian businessman in exchange for helping him obtain contracts from Seguros Sucre S.A., Ecuador’s state-owned insurance company.  

The indictment also alleges that, between 2010 and 2017, Polit directed an unnamed co-conspirator to cause Polit’s bribery proceeds to “disappear,” which this co-conspirator did by registering various Florida companies under the names of this co-conspirator’s associates (often without their knowledge), and then having these companies use Polit’s bribery proceeds to purchase and renovate real estate in South Florida and elsewhere, as well as to purchase businesses, including restaurants and a dry cleaner.  

Polit is scheduled to be arraigned on April 20, 2022.

Polit’s indictment is the latest development in a years-long investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) into bribery at and related to Odebrecht (which in 2016 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for making approximately $800 million in improper payments to government officials in 12 countries, including Ecuador).  Under the plea agreement with the DOJ, Odebrecht agreed to retain an independent monitor and pay a criminal fine (the fine amount was set at $2.6 billion in 2017, after the DOJ conducted an analysis of Odebrecht’s ability to pay).  In January 2020, the DOJ and Odebrecht jointly agreed to extend the terms of the plea agreement by nine months due to Odebrecht’s inability to fulfill its monitorship obligations.  Finally, on November 18, 2020, Odebrecht announced the conclusion of its monitorship, after the Company’s monitor certified that Odebrecht’s compliance program was reasonably “designed and implemented to prevent and detect potential violations [of] anti-corruption laws.”

DOJ Press Release | Indictment | DOJ Press Release