The Lowdown Hub

The Power Players: Haiti Former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, linked to more than $2 billion

Before launching his political career, Laurent Lamothe started a tech company. The firm, Global Voice Group, founded in 1998, sells IT products and services to governments around the world.

Lamothe joined the government of Haiti’s president, Michel Martelly, in 2011. Within a year, Martelly had named him foreign minister, then prime minister. As prime minister, Lamothe advocated foreign investment in Haiti. He also promoted an anti-corruption law that Parliament passed in 2014. But later that year, he resigned amid violent protests over delayed elections and alleged corruption in the Martelly government.

After Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council barred his 2015 presidential bid, a move Lamothe said was politically motivated, he founded LSL World Initiative, which describes itself as a think tank focused on sustainable development.

In 2016, a Haitian Senate commission accused Lamothe, other former government officials and corporate executives of embezzling about $2 billion in public funds. Lamothe denied the accusations. He did not face criminal charges.

Before joining the government, Lamothe resigned from companies to avoid conflicts of interest, the Haitian news organization Le Nouvelliste reported in 2012. But leaked documents suggest that he maintained an ownership stake in some offshore ventures while in office, including three companies in the British Virgin Islands that he set up through offshore service provider Trident Trust from 2002 to 2008.

In 2010, Lamothe resigned as director of one of those companies, Lightfoot Ventures Ltd., but remained as beneficial owner. Trident Trust email correspondence describes Lightfoot Ventures as “one of the major telecommunications providers in Haiti … with offices in South Africa, the U.S. and a number of other countries.” The leaked files contain no details on any of his companies' holdings.

Lamothe told ICIJ via email that the Haitian Senate’s investigation was a response to “a politically motivated complaint registered by a hard core opposition group.” He also said Haiti’s audit court had cleared him of any wrongdoing, but he declined to answer questions about his offshore companies.

At the heart of the Pandora Papers are 14 offshore firms that help clients establish companies in secrecy jurisdictions. This profile draws on leaked data from these providers: