On May 16, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the convictions of Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez, former executives for Terra Communications, convicted of paying bribes to officials of Haiti Teleco, Haiti's state-owned telecommunications company. Esquenazi and Rodriguez had argued on appeal that the trial court erred in its instruction to the jury on the definition of "instrumentality" of a foreign government.
The FCPA prohibits paying, offering, or promising something of value to officials of foreign governments in order to obtain or retain business. The FCPA defines a "foreign official" as "any officer or employee of a foreign government or any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof." 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-2(h)(2)(A) (emphasis added). The precise definition of what constitutes an "instrumentality" of a foreign government has been a matter of much debate, with no guidance at the appellate level.
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