Digicel is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit by US-based Haitian migrants accusing the Caribbean and Pacific Islands telco of being part of a conspiracy to divert tax proceeds from international telephone calls and remittances.

Digicel is one of five Haitian businesses and political figures being sued for US$1.5bn in New York over taxes charged to all international calls and remittances to Haiti, according to a report by the Irish Times.

A fee of US$1.50 is automatically added to all money transfers, while an extra 5 cents per minute is added to international calls, including those connected on Digicel’s network.

The cash is supposed to fund education in Haiti, but the suit alleges that the money was diverted to corrupt Haitian politicians.

Other companies being sued include rival Natcom, three money-transfer companies including Western Union and former Haitian president Michel Martelly.