MIAMI, Aug. 7 LAWFUEL – Law News Network — On Friday, August 4, Robert Amsterdam and lawyers for LISA, S.A. filed a motion for reconsideration of a jurisdictional decision issued from a Florida federal court on their fraud lawsuit against Dionisio Gutierrez Mayorga and Juan Luis Bosch et al., the controlling owners of the Pollo Campero restaurant chain. Two weeks ago, Judge Michael K. Moore ordered the case to first be tried in Guatemala, which LISA argues is incapable of providing a fair trial due to corruption
The civil lawsuit alleges that Mr. Gutierrez Mayorga, Mr. Bosch, and
others illegally diverted millions of dollars of stock dividends away from LISA through tax evasion and money laundering mechanisms involving Miami banks. LISA seeks to pursue the case in Florida, contending that the United States should not allow its financial institutions to be instrumental in corrupting Guatemala’s notoriously weak law enforcement and judicial institutions.
“The fact that the defendants publicly ‘celebrated’ this decision
speaks volumes about their trust in Guatemala’s corrupt legal system,” said Mr. Amsterdam. “Dionisio Gutierrez and Juan Luis Bosch are two of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful men, and now they are looking to bring their misconduct back home to be whitewashed and buried in a kangaroo court. If they wish to claim innocence to the tax evasion and money laundering allegations, they must do so in a well functioning legal
Mr. Gutierrez Mayorga and Mr. Bosch, co-presidents of Multi
Inversiones, SA, a multi-billion-dollar group of more than 300 companies
and the driving force behind the restaurant chain Pollo Campero, enjoy
overwhelming influence in Guatemala’s courts, argues Mr. Amsterdam. “These men have captured the state, ordered a press boycott on this lawsuit, and contributed to the scourge of impunity in Guatemala,” he said.
In addition to LISA, numerous groups such as Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, the United Nations, USAID, and members of the U.S. Congress have gone on record to denounce the deplorable state of the Guatemalan justice system and its near-total inability to provide a fair trial. According to a report issued this March by the U.S. State Department, Guatemala’s justice system often fails “to provide fair or timely trials due to inefficiency, corruption, insufficient personnel and
funds, and intimidation of judges, prosecutors, and witnesses. The majority of serious crimes were not investigated or punished.”
Recent media articles in Guatemala have alluded to the intervention in the courts system by the defendants. Mr. Gutierrez Mayorga’s and Mr.
Bosch’s tremendous influence in politics, banking, and agribusiness, Mr.
Amsterdam argues, is demonstrated by their recent attempts, immediately
post-CAFTA, to raise the poultry import duties. “Their activities daily
serve to strengthen state capture, and undermine any hope for the rule of
law,” he said.
The Guatemalan authorities have so far failed to prosecute a related
tax fraud case against the defendants. Earlier this year, the Guatemalan
labor union Unidad de Accion Sindical y Popular, filed a criminal complaint
against the Attorney General for the dismissal without investigation of the
“By dropping this tax case without even conducting an investigation,
the Attorney General and the government have failed the Guatemalan people,” Mr. Amsterdam said.
“We are dedicated to making this dispute an instrument for long-needed
change in Guatemala,” said Mr. Amsterdam. “The impunity behind the tragic
situation of feminicide, the unresolved human rights crimes of the armed
conflict, and the lawlessness of the maras is the same impunity of these
high- profile white collar offenses. We must all work together to put an
end to it.”