HomeNewsBriefHaiti Senator-Elect Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering in US
BRIEF

Haiti Senator-Elect Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering in US

ELITES AND CRIME / 24 APR 2017 BY LEONARDO GOI EN

A senator-elect from Haiti pleaded guilty in a US federal court to money laundering charges, raising the question of whether or not he will provide information on other Haitian elites suspected of involvement in criminal activities.

Guy Philippe pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with payments received as a result of drug sales that occured in the United States between the late 1990s and early 2000s, US authorities announced on April 24.

Philippe worked as a high-profile police officer in Haiti from 1997 and 2000. He has admitted to using his position to protect drug shipments arriving into the country, and said that he received between $1.5 and $3.5 million in bribes from traffickers between June 1999 and April 2003.

Philippe also said he shared part of the bribes with other corrupt members of the police forces to ensure protection for the drug shipments, and that he used part of his payments to purchase a property in Florida and support himself and his family in the United States.

Philippe has played a key role in his country's political history. He reportedly planned a coup against Haiti's then-President René Préval in 2000, but was forced to flee to the Dominican Republic. In 2004, he took part in an attempted coup against Préval's successor, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Philippe was indicted on drug charges in the United States in 2005, and US authorities attempted to capture him for years without success.

In November 2016, the former policeman was elected senator in the Haitian province of Grand Anse. However, on January 5, 2017, only four days before being sworn in as senator, Philippe was captured and extradited to the United States where he initially pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

Philippe will be sentenced in Miami on July 5, 2017. He faces up to twenty years in prison. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The fact that Philippe was able to escape authorities for a decade and was even elected senator while drug charges were outstanding against him speaks volumes about the difficulties facing Haitian authorities attempting to bring high-profile criminals to justice. And it also raises questions as to whether the senator-elect will provide information on other criminal suspects.

To be sure, Philippe is not the only Haitian politician to have come under the spotlight for actual or alleged criminal activities. Another senator elected in November 2016, Wilfrid Gelin, has been accused of changing his name to hide a US guilty plea for smuggling undocumented migrants into the United States, reported the Miami Herald.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

Accusations of money laundering have also been lodged against current President Jovenel Moïse. On January 20, Judge Brédy Fabien requested executives of the state-owned Banque Nationale de Crédit (BNC) to testify about one of the president's bank accounts, in an effort to more carefully examine large and seemingly suspicious transactions to the president's account. President Moïse has dismissed the money laundering accusations.

Given his known ties to drug traffickers and other potentially corrupt Haitian elites, Philippe may be in a position to reveal information to US authorities about those actors. However, details of the conditions under which Philippe agreed to plead guilty have not been made public, so it is unclear whether he struck a deal with prosecutors that would require his cooperation on such matters.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 14 AUG 2018

When former El Salvador President Antonio Saca began to declare himself as the author of one of the most well-known…

CYBERCRIME / 20 OCT 2021

A month after El Salvador’s government introduced Bitcoin as a national currency, an illegal corner of the new economy has…

ELITES AND CRIME / 25 MAR 2015

A Paraguayan politician, who previously served time in prison for drug trafficking, is now under investigation for money laundering, a…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.