DoJ charges 5 former Venezuelan officials with money laundering

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  Feb. 12, 2018 at 8:53 PM
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Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The Department of Justice unsealed indictments Monday charging five former Venezuelan officials with money laundering as part of a corruption scandal involving the country's state-run energy company.

The five defendants were accused of being involved in a scheme to secure energy contracts with Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., commonly known by its acronym PDVSA.

Spanish authorities arrested Luis Carlos De Leon Perez, 41; Nervis Gerardo Villalobos Cardenas, 50; Cesar David Rincon Godoy, 50; and Rafael Ernesto Reiter Munoz, 39, in August. The fifth defendant, Alejandro Isturiz Chiesa, 33, remains at large.

De Leon faces one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, four counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Villalobos faces one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

Cesar Rincon faces one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and four counts of money laundering.

Reiter faces one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and four counts of money laundering.

Isturiz faces one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and five counts of money laundering.

"Corruption threatens economic and political stability, and victimizes ordinary law-abiding people by diverting public funds into the pockets of corrupt officials and bribe payers," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. "The charges announced today demonstrate our commitment to fighting corruption at its source and to prosecuting those who allegedly launder their illicit gains through American financial institutions and real estate. Through cases like this, we are sending a strong message to corrupt foreign officials: if you launder your ill-gotten gains through the United States, you will be prosecuted."

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