A class action suit, filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York*, charges that Haiti's present and former presidents, and its mobile telephone service and money service business, illegally imposed taxes, in the form of surcharges, upon long-distance telephone calls and money transfers, claiming they were made under color of law, notwithstanding that they had no legal authority to levy them upon the citizens of the Republic of Haiti. It is alleged that at least $300m was collected; The money has not been accounted for.
The named defendants:
MICHEL JOSEPH MARTELLY
CARIBBEAN AIR MAIL, INC.
UNITRANSFER USA, INC.
DIGICEL-HAITI (UNIGESTION HOLDING, SA)
THE GOVERNMENT OF HAITI
The causes of action:
(A) Alien Tort Statute
(B) A number of anti-trust laws, Federal and state.
(C) Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
(D) Violation of a number of state statutes.
The so-called "taxes" were designed to support Haiti's educational system; it is alleged in Haiti that the defendants, and others illegally diverted some of the payments to their own use and benefit, for a corrupt purpose. Readers who wish to review the Class Action Complaint may review an unofficial copy here. (Please note that it is not in usual format, and is not a photocopy of the original, but it appears to be accurate.)
*Odilon S Celestin, et al vs. Michel Joseph Martelly, et al Case No.: 18-cv-7340 (EDNY).
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