U.S. Sanctions Former President of Haiti’s Lower House
A former president of Haiti’s lower house of parliament was sanctioned Wednesday for his extensive involvement in corruption, the Department of the Treasury said.
Gary Bodeau, the former president of Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies, was sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act, which targets people who engage in serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.
According to the Treasury, Bodeau is implicated in several corrupt schemes wherein he sought “to influence the outcome of Haitian political appointments, including facilitating and soliciting bribes worth millions of dollars.”
Authorities linked the former president to the issuance of several bribes in 2018, so that he could secure their votes while seeking ministerial position appointments. He also solicited bribes of his own from senior government officials—said to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars—in exchange for political support that he could offer them.
And in 2019, Bodeau promised to pass a vote concerning a prospective ministerial appointee through the country’s lower house in exchange for millions of dollars paid out through individual payments to select members of the Chamber of Deputies, U.S. authorities said.
The scope of these bribes is reported to be in the 500 million to 600 million Haitian gourdes range (US$6.2-$7.4 million). All for corrupting the outcome of select votes.
“Corrupt officials like Bodeau have created an environment that empowers illegal armed gangs and their supporters to inflict violence on the Haitian people,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.
Bodeau’s blacklisting comes four months after the U.S. sanctioned two other Haitian politicians who were implicated in a drug trafficking scandal.
And back in Nov. 2022, both the U.S. and Canada sanctioned another two of Haiti’s political elites, who were said to have enabled criminal organizations to destabilize the country’s rule of law, including the carrying out of extrajudicial killings.