Miami, Florida - The former Comptroller General of Ecuador made his initial appearance Tuesday in Miami, Florida, for allegedly engaging in a scheme to use the U.S. financial system to launder money to promote and conceal an illegal bribery scheme in Ecuador.

According to the March 24 indictment unsealed today, between approximately 2010 and 2016, Carlos Ramon Polit Faggioni (Polit), allegedly solicited and received over $10 million in bribe payments from Odebrecht S.A., the Brazil-based construction conglomerate, in exchange for using his official position as Comptroller General of Ecuador to influence official actions by the comptroller’s office in order to benefit Odebrecht and its business in Ecuador. Additionally, Polit is alleged to have received a bribe from an Ecuadorian businessman in or around 2015 in exchange for assisting the businessman and his company in connection with certain contracts from the state-owned insurance company of Ecuador.

The indictment alleges that, from in or around 2010 and continuing until at least 2017, at the direction of Polit, another member of the conspiracy caused proceeds of Polit’s bribery scheme to “disappear” by using Florida companies registered in the names of certain associates, often without the associates’ knowledge. The conspirators also used funds from Polit’s bribery scheme to purchase and renovate real estate in South Florida and elsewhere and to purchase restaurants, a dry cleaner and other businesses. 

Odebrecht S.A. pleaded guilty on December 21, 2016, in the Eastern District of New York to conspiring to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with a broader scheme to pay nearly $800 million in bribes to public officials in 12 countries, including Ecuador.

Polit is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, three counts of concealment money laundering, and two counts of engaging in transactions in criminally derived property. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering and up to 10 years in prison for each count of engaging in transactions in criminally derived property. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida, and Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami office made the announcement.

HSI’s Miami Field Office is investigating the case. 

Trial Attorneys Jill Simon and Alexander Kramer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Laserna is handling asset forfeiture.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also provided substantial assistance. The Justice Department also wishes to thank law enforcement authorities in Ecuador, Brazil, Panama, and Curacao for their assistance with the investigation.