Affidavit in Continental Towers BVI Arbitration Alleges Gross Misconduct of Key Executives and Lawyers

AM Editorial Team

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According to the latest public record filing in an arbitration proceeding concerning the control of the telecommunications infrastructure company Continental Towers, one of the key figures in the corporate dispute is accused of a wide variety of misconduct, from organizing black media campaigns, threats of violence, and even domestic abuse of his wife and daughters – supposedly with the full knowledge of lawyers and arbitrators who presented him as an innocent victim who must be reinstated to the company.

The third affidavit of Jose Alejandro Sagastume Figeroa filed before the Eastern Court of the Caribbean in the British Virgin Islands (Case #BVIHCOM2023/0042) contains more than 100 pages of exhibits, including sometimes shocking screenshots of text messages, handwritten notes, and images that allegedly contradict a series of statements made by key figures under oath in the proceedings.

The Continental Towers dispute has been widely covered in the media, sprawling through multiple arbitral procedures and even a federal court case aimed at dismissing the enforcement of an award based on alleged arbitral bias. Key figures in the case in include Terra Towers, the majority shareholders of Continental Towers, and AMLQ Holdings and Telecom Business Solutions, LLC et al., the minority shareholder group mainly controlled by Goldman Sachs and the private equity firm Peppertree Capital Management.

Two other key figures are the former CT CEO Jorge Alberto Gaitan and COO Carol Echeverria, who were fired from their for misconduct, but continue to receive backing from the minority shareholders to be reinstated allegedly in order to force the sale of the company, according to multiple court records.

Domestic Abuse Accusations

Sagastume’s affidavit sheds light on new evidence brought forward by Gaitan’s wife, Maria Cristina Gonzalez Flores de Gaitan, who contacted the compliance department of the companies with severe allegations of spousal abuse committed by Gaitan, which has allegedly been aided by millions of dollars paid in legal support fees for his personal family issues by the minority shareholders.

According to the legal filing, Guatemalan law enforcement authorities have already approved a restraining order against Mr. Gaitan, and further protective measures for Ms. Gonzalez. Gaitan’s wife has also submitted a complaint under the Violence against Women law in response to his threats.

According to Ms. Gonzalez’s April 23 letter to compliance officers at CT and Peppertree: “My husband, Jorge Alberto Gaitan Castro, has for many years inflicted economic and psychological violence against me, his wife.”

Ms. Gonzalez’s letter references the arrest warrant for Gaitan for financial crimes in El Salvador, and accuses him of using lawyers funded by Peppertree to forcibly seize custody of her three daughters based on false claims.

“Being all this a family violence issue, a personal legal matter, completely independent of his relationship to Peppertree Capital Management, Inc., I am aware that lawyers retained and hired by the company (Carrillo Law and Ana Alejos) are the ones advising him. (…) I am addressing this matter, bringing it up to you, as the compliance officer, in the hope that appropriate action will be taken to fully investigiate the financing of Mr. Gaitan’s legal representation (…),” she continues.

In a later letter to the same compliance officers, Gonzalez writes: “I know that my life is in danger, due to constant threats and actions of Mr. Gaitan and the background of the attorneys advising him. (…) I want to be firm and express that if anything happens to me, my children, my mother, or my extended family, as of now, I make all companies related to him, Peppertree, Continental, AMLQ, Goldman Sachs, Tandem Infrastruccture and Ropes and Gray LLP, responsible.”

Accusations of an Extramarital Affair between Gaitan and Echeverria

Another letter sent to compliance officers from Ms. Gonzalez included in the Sagastume affidavit reveals that Peppertree was allegedly financing an extramarital lover’s retreat for Gaitan and Echeverria.

“He is a compulsive liar, wanting to play the victim,” Gonzalez writes of Gaitan, and then includes images she discovered of Gaitan and Echeverria celebrating the anniversary of their affair in New York, when he was supposedly on a trip to assist with Peppertree’s legal case.

The alleged existence of the adulterous affair between Gaitan and Echeverria could pose problems for lawyers involved in the case, given previous statements under oath denying the relationship. Sagastume’s affidavit refers to a letter written to the US Embassy in Guatemala by the lawyer Adam Schachter, who is meant to represent the company Continental Towers but instead appears to represent the two former executives. This letter to the US consular services was in support a travel visa for Mr. Gaitan, but instead of public safety – the visa was used for the extramarital affair.

threats Black Media Media Campaigns, Violence, and Stalking of Opponent’s children

The most shocking revelations from the leaked text messages shared in Sagastume affidavit concern Jorge Gaitan and Carol Echeverria’s frequently violent language, including toward his former boss and company founder, Jorge Hernandez, often referred to as “JH” in the text messages.

In one message exchanged on WhatsApp cited on page 92, Echeverria says “But now it’s time to connect the dots for a black media campaign with this complaint and with them and with their ‘media advisors.'”

Gaitan responds to the message with another violent threat: “I’m about to start kicking their damned ass.”

In a later text message dated February 17, Gaitan proposes that they send a team to stalk the third son of Jorge Hernandez.

According to Sagastume’s affidavit: “Mr Berger shared with Ms Echeverria and Mr Gaitan a dream in which he tortures and dismembers Mr Hernandez’s limbs, noting that even though it was a sadistic dream he enjoyed it. Mr Gaitan and Ms Echeverria’s reaction with laughter is shocking.”

Employment with a Direct Competitor

Aside from these lurid and concerning behaviors revealed by the affidavit, perhaps the most important for the actual arbitrations is the revelation that Echeverria was working for a direct competitor of Continental Towers when all the corporate intrigue was playing out before the arbitration process.

Sagastume writes: “There is a document from the Guatemalan Social Security showing the social security fees paid by on behalf of Ms Echeverria by the payroll company of Tigo, proving that she had a labour relationship of at least 10 months, from February to October 2023, with a competitor of the Company, this evidence shows that she was an employee. (…) In their text messages at Ms. Echeverria, Mr. Gaitan and Mr. Juan Ignacio Berger acknowledge their concern about a situation with Millicom.

Peppertree Denies Paying for Gaitan’s Family Lawyers

The Affidavit does however indicate that counsel for Peppertree Capital Management in the US arbitration have already responded to the letters from Ms. Gonzalez on May 1, 2024, “talking down” her abuse complaints and arguing their position that it is “simply a personal dispute between Mr. Gaitan and his wife and disclaimed any involvement by Peppertree and Goldman.”

Undoubtedly these parties in the dispute are likely to contest the allegations shared to argue their case, but the introduction of such explosive evidence the potential to raise new questions across the various venues of this sprawling dispute.