WASHINGTON — Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned the former President of the Haitian Chamber of Deputies Gary Bodeau (Bodeau), pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, for his extensive involvement in corruption in Haiti. E.O. 13818 builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.
“Corrupt officials like Bodeau have created an environment that empowers illegal armed gangs and their supporters to inflict violence on the Haitian people,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Along with our partners, including Canada, we are committed to holding accountable those undermining the integrity of Haiti’s government and destabilizing the country.”
Today’s action follows a December action in which OFAC designated two Haitian politicians, Rony Celestin and Richard Fourcand, for abusing their power to further drug trafficking activities in the region. Bodeau has also been sanctioned by Canada. Treasury will continue to take action to hold to account individuals who are responsible for instability in Haiti.
OFAC is designating Bodeau pursuant to E.O. 13818 for being a foreign person who is a current or former government official, or a person acting for or on behalf of such an official, who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery.
Bodeau was involved in several corrupt schemes wherein he engaged in efforts to influence the outcome of Haitian political appointments, including facilitating and soliciting bribes worth millions of dollars. In 2018, Bodeau paid Haitian officials to secure their votes while seeking ministerial position appointments. He also solicited a large bribery payment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from senior government officials in exchange for his political support.
In 2019, Bodeau offered to deliver a successful vote in Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies for a prospective ministerial appointee in exchange for millions of dollars paid out through individual payments to members of the Chamber of Deputies. Several Haitian businessmen provided between 500 and 600 million Haitian gourdes (approximately $6.2-$7.4 million) to members of the Chamber of Deputies to influence the outcome of a ministerial vote. In advance of the floor session, Bodeau participated in discussions on the vote and payments with various members of the Chamber of Deputies.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the person named above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, E.O. 13818 was issued on December 20, 2017, in recognition that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, had reached such scope and gravity as to threaten the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.