by Brian Lupo
The US Department of Justice has brought charges against Andres Bautista, a Filipino election administrator, for money laundering. In the case, however, four executives of Smartmatic are reportedly named as uncharged co-conspirators. Smartmatic is currently embroiled in defamation lawsuits filed against several American people and firms, including Mike Lindell and FOX News.
This isn’t the first time Smartmatic has been tied up in controversy regarding the Philippines though. As reported by The Gateway Pundit, when former Tarrant County elections administrator Heider Garcia was an executive with Smartmatic, he was excoriated by then-Filipino congressman Teodoro Locsin over issues with their voting system. Garcia would go on to run the elections in Tarrant County, TX, which went blue in 2020 for the first time since 1964. He is now a senior adviser with the US Elections Assistance Commission (EAC).
Smartmatic spokeswoman Samira Saba has said the claims against Bautista are “not related to Smartmatic election security or integrity” and that the company “has never won a project through illegal means”, according to CNN.
In the sealed indictment filed in the Southern District of Florida, three charges stemming back to July 2015 – October 2017 are cited:
18 USC 1956(h) – Conspiracy to lauder monetary instruments
18 USC 1956(a)(2)(A) – Promotional money laundering
18 USC 1956(a)(2)(B)(i)- Concealment money laundering
"Smartmatic, the voting technology company suing Fox News and former President Donald Trump’s top allies over their false claims that its machines rigged the 2020 election, was implicated in an alleged bribery scheme involving the former top election official in the Philippines,… https://t.co/LBQ2javxHu pic.twitter.com/Z7OHAgXS7y
— Just Human (@realjusthuman) September 24, 2023
Bautista served as the Chairman of COMELEC from April 2015 to October 2017. COMELEC, or the Commission of Elections of the Republic of the Philippines, is an “independent agency mandated to enforce and administer election laws in the Philippines.
According to charging documents, “In or around the later part of 2015 and into 2016, Company 4 won bids for three contracts worth a total approximate value of $199,000,000 to supply COMELEC with voting machines and related services for the May 2016 elections for President, Vice-President, and other official positions.”
In August 2017, Bautista’s wife informed the Philippine National Bureau of Investigations that “her husband had large amounts of unexplained wealth.” From the charging documents:
“In or around August 2017, Bautista’s wife informed the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation agents that her husband had large amounts of unexplained wealth. She informed NBI’s Anti-Fraud Division that her husband had approximately one billion Philippines Peso, or approximately $20 million USD, of ‘ill-gotten wealth’. At their residence, she found foreign bank account information for Baumann, Shell Company X and Shell Company Y, that she previously did not know existed.
The documents allege that:
Bautista, in his capacity as Chairman of COMELEC, received and attempted to receive bribes from Co-Conspirator 1, 2, 3, 4 and Vendor A in exchange for using his position as Chairman of COMELEC to assist Company 2, Company 4, and others to obtain and retain business and improper advantages, including payments from COMELEC…Co-Conspirators 1, 2, 3, and 4 furthered the criminal scheme using personal email accounts and messaging applications to avoid detection, and in particular, Co-Conspirators 1 and 3 used email accounts registered under aliases.
All four co-conspirators are alleged to have “caused or attempted to launder” at least $4,000,000 USD through foreign and US bank accounts for the benefit of Bautista.
In June of 2015, one month prior to the date filed on the indictment, Smartmatic chairman Mark Malloch-Brown was on ANC News in the Philippines to tout Smartmatic as not a Venezuelan company, but a Florida-based company that was started by Venezuelans, that was started in reaction to the famous “hanging-chads” case from the 2000 US Presidential Election. In December 2020, shortly after the US General Election, Malloch-Brown was promoted to President of the George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.