Aruban telecom official pleads guilty to money laundering conspiracy involving FCPA violations
Egbert Yvan Ferdinand Koolman, an official of Servicio di Telecommunicacion di Aruba N.V. (Setar), pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in connection with a scheme to arrange and receive corrupt payments to influence the awarding of contracts in Aruba. The DOJ’s press release describes Setar as an Aruban state-owned company. According to his plea agreement, Koolman, a Dutch citizen living in Florida, operated a money laundering conspiracy between 2005 and 2016 in his position as Setar’s product manager. Lawrence W. Parker, Jr., who owned several Florida-based telecommunications companies, previously pleaded guilty to paying bribes to Koolman and Koolman’s wife.
Koolman admitted that he conspired with Parker and others to transmit funds from Florida and elsewhere in the United States to Aruba and Panama with the intent to promote a wire fraud scheme and a corrupt scheme that violated the FCPA. Koolman was promised and received bribes from individuals and companies located in the United States and abroad in exchange for using his position at Setar to award lucrative mobile phone and accessory contracts. Koolman also admitted to providing favored vendors with confidential Setar information in exchange for the more than $1.3 million in corrupt payments.
Setar filed a civil complaint against Koolman and other parties on March 3 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, which contains a few points of note. First, Setar describes itself in the complaint as a privatized company, whereas the DOJ’s press release called it an instrumentality of the Aruban government. Second, the complaint states that Setar became aware of some of Koolman’s alleged activities via the Panama Papers, the 2016 leak of over 11 million documents from Panamanian law firm and financial services provider Mossack Fonseca.