The Honduras Third Court of Appeals has ruled to absolve the former manager of Hondutel, Marcelo Chimirri, of the crimes of bribery, fraud and abuse of authority in the Hondutel-Latinode case.
The Public Ministry had initiated the hearing after receiving new evidence to present in the case, including documents sent by the U.S. government and signed by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Those documents were eventually rejected by the court as “inadmissible”, along with witness statements, and emails exchanged between Chimirri and Latinode executives. New evidence presented on behalf of the defense, however, was allowed.
The initial charges against Marcelo Chimirri stemmed from corrupt dealings between Hondutel and Latinode, a Miami-based company providing telecom services around the world. In December of 2005, Latinode found that it was the sole winner of an “interconnection agreement” with the Honduran state-owned Hondutel.
Between September 2006 and June 2007, according to court documents, LatiNode executives paid more than $500,000 in bribes to Honduran officials, concealing many of the payments by laundering the money through accounts controlled by the Honduran officials.
Latinode plead guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2009 and paid a $2 million fine. Several executives of Latinode are serving time in prison for the bribery scandal involving Honduran officials who are known only as as “Officials A, B and C”.
In February of 2010, was found “responsible for the crime of abuse of authority,” and was to serve a sentence of four years (4) imprisonment.