Corruption “rampant” in Dominican Rep

- leaked cable

SANTO DOMINGO,  (Reuters) – The publication by  WikiLeaks of U.S. diplomatic cables reporting alleged “rampant”  business corruption in the Dominican Republic has prompted a  State Department apology and denials from Dominican officials.

Leonel Fernandez

A 2008 cable from U.S. Ambassador to Santo Domingo Robert  Fannin cited U.S. investors’ testimony that then Tourism  Minister Felix Jimenez attempted in 2007 to solicit a $10  million bribe from American company Forbes Energy to enable it  to build an ethanol plant in the north of the country.

In a separate 2009 cable, the embassy cited global  investment firm Advent International as saying it became so  disillusioned with harassment from airport department director  Andres Van Der Horst, who also sought a bribe, that it would  not proceed with further investments in Dominican Republic.

Both cables criticized the business climate in the  Caribbean nation ruled by President Leonel Fernandez, which  ranks 101 out of 178 countries listed in Transparency  International’s 2010 corruption perceptions index.

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