The Department of Justice reports that an Ecuadorian businessman living in Florida has pleaded guilty in connection with a $4.4 million scheme that funneled bribes to public officials of PetroEcuador, the state-owned and -controlled oil company of Ecuador. The man will be sentenced April 2 on charges of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to a DOJ press release, the man admitted that from 2012 through 2015 he conspired with others to (a) pay bribes to PetroEcuador officials to obtain and retain lucrative oil services contracts and (b) conceal and promote this scheme by laundering funds through U.S.-based shell companies and bank accounts and by purchasing properties in the U.S. for the benefit of certain PetroEcuador officials.

The DOJ notes that its ongoing investigation into bribery and money laundering involving PetroEcuador has resulted in 12 public charges and guilty pleas, including by former company officials who received and concealed the bribes, businessmen and contractors who paid the bribes, and financial advisors and other intermediaries who enabled and facilitated the bribes.

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