Aruban Telecommunications Purchasing Official Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Conspiracy Involving Violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Conspirators Paid Over $1.3 Million to Influence the Official and to Secure Business with State-Owned Telecommunications Company
An Aruban official residing in Florida pleaded guilty today to money laundering charges in connection with his role in a scheme to arrange and receive corrupt payments to influence the awarding of contracts with an Aruban state-owned telecommunications corporation.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg of the Southern District of Florida, Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Robert F. Lasky of the FBI’s Miami Field Office made the announcement.
Egbert Yvan Ferdinand Koolman, 49, a Dutch citizen residing in Miami, Florida, was an official of Servicio di Telecommunicacion di Aruba N.V. (Setar), an instrumentality of the Aruban government. Koolman pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Frederico A. Moreno of the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 27.
In connection with the scheme, Lawrence W. Parker, Jr., 42, of Miami, pleaded guilty on Dec. 28, 2017 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud. Parker’s sentencing is scheduled for April 30.
According to admissions made as part of his plea agreement, between 2005 and 2016, Koolman operated a money laundering conspiracy from his position as Setar’s product manager. Koolman admitted that, as part of the scheme, he conspired with Parker and others to transmit funds from Florida and elsewhere in the United States to Aruba and Panama with the intent to promote a wire fraud scheme and a corrupt scheme that violated the FCPA. Koolman was promised and received bribes from individuals and companies located in the United States and abroad in exchange for using his position at Setar to award lucrative mobile phone and accessory contracts, he admitted. He received the corrupt payments via wire transfer from banks located in the United States, in cash during meetings in Miami and in Aruba, and by withdrawing cash in Aruba using a bankcard that drew money from a United States-based bank account, he further admitted. In exchange for the more than $1.3 million in corrupt payments that he received, Koolman also admitted providing favored vendors with Setar’s confidential information.
The FBI is investigating the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lois Foster-Steers of the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorneys Jonathan Robell and Vanessa Snyder of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance.
The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters. Additional information about the department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.