United States Sanctions Dominican Republic Senator for Corruption

The United States placed sanctions on Dominican Republic Senator Felix Bautista for corruption. Bautista has been a member of the Dominican Republic Senate since 2010 and owns or controls several construction companies.

The US Treasury Department accused Bautista of “engaging in corrupt acts, including in relation to reconstruction efforts in Haiti,” according to a press release.

“These actions are part of our continuing campaign to hold accountable government officials and other actors involved in human rights abuse and corrupt activities.  Senator Bautista used his position to engage in corruption, including profiting off of humanitarian efforts related to rebuilding Haiti,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker

“The United States will continue to use Global Magnitsky and our other authorities to ensure that corrupt actors and human rights violators cannot use our financial system to enable and support their abhorrent activities and exploit the innocent,” Mandelker added.

Specifically, Senator Felix Bautista is accused of engaging in bribery in the Dominican Republic and using his connections to win public works contracts in Haiti, “including one case where his company was paid over $10 million for work it had not completed.”

According to the Miami Herald, Bautista won no-bid contracts worth more than $200 million following the 2010 earthquake which devastated Haiti:

“In one example, Bautista’s construction firm Hadom was awarded a $14.7 million contract and was paid $10 million up front to construct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one of 40 government buildings that crumbled during the earthquake. The building was never built.”

In March 2015 the Supreme Court of Justice dismissed a corruption case against Bautista and six other defendants. That decision was upheld in October of that year when the second chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice rejected an appeal by the Attorney General of the Republic, reported Diario Libre.

After the US sanctions were announced, Reinaldo Pared Pérez, Secretary General of the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) suspended Bautista as Secretary of Organization.

“As Secretary of Organization of the PLD, I accept by discipline the decision of the Secretary General to suspend my functions provisionally, even though I have never been convicted or there is no judicial process opened against me,” tweeted Bautista.

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