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Florida Telcom Pleads to Bribing Foreign Officials

WASHINGTON (CN) - A Florida telecommunications company has plead guilty to bribing Honduras and Yemen officials to obtain lower interconnection rates. The company, eLandia, also agreed to pay a $2 million fine.

After eLandia took over Latin Node Inc., eLandia's discovered the bribes made by its predecessor. Counsel for eLandia then fired senior Latinode management officials involved with the bribery scheme, and reported the matter to the Department of Justice.

Latinode had paid more than $1 million to Hondutel, the state-owned telecommunications company in Honduras, in an attempt a get an agreement and a lower communications rate.

The company also paid more than $1.1 million to Yemeni officials to get favorable interconnection rates there.

When asked whether the $2 million fine would be a punishment on the new and parent company, eLandia, instead of on the Latinode officials, Ian McCaleb declined to comment.

Lori Weinstein, from the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice, is prosecuting the case.

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