Former Aides to Hugo Chavez Charged by DOJ with Bribery and Money Laundering
Former Venezuelan National Treasurer who was a temporary medical aide to Hugo Chavez and her spouse who was a one-time security guard to Hugo Chavez has been charged in connection with international bribery and money laundering scheme.
HOW RICH PEOPLE HIDE MONEY
According to Taiwan News.com, who posted an AP article, the two were first exposed in the “Panama Papers” which according to Wikipedia is described as:
The Panama Papers (Spanish: Papeles de Panamá) are 2.6TB of data or 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney–client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities leaked beginning on 3 April 2016. The documents, some dating back to the 1970s, were created by, and taken from, Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca.
The documents contain personal financial information about wealthy individuals and public officials that had previously been kept private. While offshore business entities are legal (see Offshore Magic Circle), reporters found that some of the Mossack Fonseca shell corporations were used for illegal purposes, including fraud, tax evasion, and evading international sanctions.
ACCORDING TO THE DOJ WEDNESDAY:
A former Venezuelan National Treasurer and her spouse were charged in a superseding indictment filed Tuesday for their alleged participation in a previously indicted billion-dollar currency exchange and money laundering scheme. An alleged co-conspirator was previously charged in the original indictment.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Mark B. Dawson of HSI Houston Field Office, Acting Special Agent in Charge David Magdvcz of HSI Boston Field Office, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI Miami Field Office, and Inspector General Jay N. Lerner of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General (OIG) made the announcement.
Claudia Patricia Diaz Guillen (Diaz), 47, and her spouse, Adrian Jose Velasquez Figueroa (Velasquez), 41, Venezuelan citizens who reside in Madrid, Spain, were charged in a superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of Florida with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering.
Raul Gorrin Belisario (Gorrin), 52, a Venezuelan billionaire businessman who owns Globovision news network, was charged by indictment in August 2018 and remains charged in the superseding indictment as a co-conspirator in the same money laundering conspiracy and money laundering counts. He is currently a fugitive residing in Venezuela.
The superseding indictment alleges that Gorrin paid millions of dollars in bribes to two former Venezuelan national treasurers, Alejandro Andrade Cedeno (Andrade) and Diaz, and to Velasquez, for the benefit of Diaz, to corruptly secure the rights to conduct foreign currency exchange transactions for the Venezuelan government at favorable rates. Gorrin wired money to and for the benefit of Andrade and Diaz, including money for private jets, yachts, homes, champion horses, high-end watches, and a fashion line.
Andrade, 56, a Venezuelan citizen, was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison in November 2018 for his role in the conspiracy to commit money laundering. As part of his guilty plea, Andrade admitted that he received over $1 billion in bribes from co-conspirator Gorrin and other co-conspirators in exchange for using his position as Venezuelan national treasurer to select them to conduct currency exchange transactions at favorable rates for the Venezuelan government.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
HSI Miami, HSI Houston, HSI Boston, FBI Miami, and the FDIC OIG are investigating this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Vanessa Sisti and Trial Attorney Paul A. Hayden of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kurt Lunkenheimer and Nalina Sombuntham of the Southern District of Florida. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in this matter. The Policía Nacional (Spanish National Police) also provided significant assistance.
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