A Long Awaited Victory in Guatemala

dionisiogutierrez.jpgFrom time to time, I provide updates on one of my other major cases in this space – the high profile tax fraud and money laundering case we have been fighting against two of Central America’s most wealthy and powerful businessmen, Juan Luis Bosch and Dionisio Gutierrez Mayorga, the owners of the Pollo Campero restaurant empire.

As my regular readers know, we received a favorable landmark ruling from a court in Bermuda recently, which found that companies owned by these two men are liable for orchestrating a conspiracy to defraud their minority shareholders and withhold millions in tax revenue from the Guatemalan government – one of the poorest nations in Latin America. Nevertheless, Dionisio Gutierrez Mayorga (photographed) is poised to give a keynote address at a prestigious conference in Costa Rica to talk about “corporate social responsibility,” while the defendants continue to try to spin the judgment and pretend they won.

The hypocrisy of it all is staggering and breathtaking, but something we’ve become used to in dealing with this dispute. This week, there is more important news: the deadline has been passed for the defendants to submit an appeal to the Bermuda decision, so their liability for fraud will stand, which will reward my client with upwards of $7 million in damages, interest, and litigation fees. So much for calling it a “victory.” After the cut is the latest press release we are distributing, which can also be viewed on Forbes, Reuters, MarketWatch, and many other publications. Stay tuned for more.

Fraud Finding Stands Against Pollo Campero Owners

Bermudan Supreme Court holds fraud ruling against companies of Juan Luis Bosch and Dionisio Gutierrez Mayorga of Guatemala, no appeal filed

November 11, 2008 – This week a critical deadline was reached for the defense of companies owned by Juan Luis Bosch and Dionisio Gutierrez Mayorga, key shareholders of the restaurant chain Pollo Campero and its parent company Corporacion Multi-Inversiones, to present an appeal against a historic ruling by the Supreme Court of Bermuda finding them liable for a tax fraud scheme to defraud minority shareholders.

The lawsuit, Lisa S.A. vs. Leamington Reinsurance Company Ltd. and Avicola Villalobos, will award the plaintiff upwards of $7 million, accounting for pre- and post-judgment interest and litigation fees. In his ruling, Judge Ian Kawaley confirmed long-denied allegations that executives representing Bosch-Gutierrez “clearly admitted in a meeting which was secretly recorded that a substantial portion of the income generated by the Avicola Group, in particular cash generated from the sale of live chickens, chicken manure and oranges was kept off the books and used to fund distributions to shareholders.”

This landmark ruling in the Gutierrez case is related to several other past and current lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions alleging massive tax fraud and money laundering dating back to the mid-1990s, but was the first tribunal to allow the plaintiff to present the merits and videotaped evidence of their complaint. The defendants, two of Central America’s most influential businessmen, have consistently sought to have the dispute moved back to Guatemala – a legal system whose impartiality has been assailed by the International Commission of Jurists as “severely threatened by the increasing politicization of the justice system.”

One of the most notable developments in the Bermuda proceedings was the admission, made on behalf of the defense for companies of Juan Luis Bosch and Dionisio Gutierrez Mayorga, that separate accounting books were maintained to commit tax fraud against the Guatemalan government and divert profits away from shareholders, which stands in direct contradiction to a “clean bill of health” granted to Avicola Villalobos by the country’s internal revenue service.

Surprisingly, one of the defendants behind the companies in this trial, Dionisio Gutierrez Mayorga, will be a featured speaker at the Foro Internacional Crisis Global, Seguridad y Lucha contra la Pobreza on Nov. 28 in Costa Rica, a seminar on corporate social responsibility alongside many other prestigious international figures. It is not known whether or not Mr. Gutierrez will speak about the Bermuda court finding his principle group Corporacion Multi-Inversiones was determined to be the “controlling mind” behind a tax fraud scheme.For more information on this case, including full copies of court complaints, judgments, and other documentation, please visit http://www.casogutierrez.com.