Former Dominican Republic defence minister arrested on bribery charges
SANTO DOMINGO - Authorities in the Dominican Republic have arrested a former defence minister and three others for allegedly accepting a $3.5 million bribe from Embraer SA in exchange for placing an order with the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer for military aircraft.
The arrests are part of an investigation that includes US and Brazilian authorities into the 2009 purchase of eight Super Tucano aircraft for $94 million. The Dominican Republic government said they used the planes, which have bubble glass cockpits and noses painted with growling teeth, to combat aerial drops of drugs from South America.
“It was rumoured that in the process of the sale, they offered a series of bribes and discussed different quantities, which is why we started an investigation,” Laura Guerrero Pelletier, head of the Dominican Special Prosecutor for the Prosecution of Administrative Corruption, said in a statement.
Those arrested include Pedro Rafael Pena Antonio, defence minister from 2008 to 2010, Air Force Colonel Carlos Piccini, businessman Daniel Aquino Mendez and his son Daniel Aquino Hernandez, the prosecutor’s office said.
Embraer is also facing penalties in the US as part of a related investigation by the Justice Department under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.