Former Aruban telecom official gets U.S. prison term for laundering bribes

MIAMI/ORANJESTAD - A former official of an Aruban state-owned telecommunications provider was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in prison after admitting he participated in a scheme to launder bribe money he was paid in exchange for rewarding lucrative contracts.
 
Egbert Yvan Ferdinand Koolman, a former product manager at Servicio di Telecommunicacion di Aruba (Setar), was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami after pleading guilty in April to conspiring to commit money laundering.
 
The sentence was announced by the U.S. Justice Department. A lawyer for Koolman, a Dutch citizen residing in Miami, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
 
Prosecutors said that from 2005 to 2016, Koolman used his position as Setar’s product manager to improperly assist several phone companies obtain lucrative mobile phone and accessory contracts.
 
In total, Koolman received more than $1.3 million in corrupt payments, prosecutors said.
 
In order to disguise the money, Koolman received bribe payments via wire transfer from banks in the United States and in cash during meetings in Miami and in Aruba, the Justice Department said in a statement.
 
The participants in the scheme included Lawrence Parker Jr., a Florida businessman who either owned or participated in the operation of five of the phone companies involved, according to court papers.
 
Parker, 42, pleaded guilty in December to one count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and to commit wire fraud. He was sentenced in April to 35 months in prison and ordered to pay $701,750 in restitution. 
 
Reuters

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