The U.S. Justice Department announced connected Thursday that it was charging 3 Colombians and 2 Venezuelans for wealth laundering successful transportation with a Venezuela bribery scheme.
The individuals allegedly laundered the proceeds of inflated contracts done a Venezuelan state-owned food and medicine organisation programme called CLAP.
In bid to run done CLAP, DOJ said the individuals bribed Venezuelan authorities officials to get the contract.
The defendants were: Alvaro Pulido Vargas, 57, of Colombia; Jose Gregorio Vielma-Mora, 55, of Venezuela; Emmanuel Enrique Rubio Gonzalez, 32, of Colombia; Carlos Rolando Lizcano Manrique, 50, of Colombia; and Ana Guillermo Luis, 49, of Venezuela.
“The defendants and their co-conspirators knowingly inflated the costs of the contracts to wage the bribes and unjustly enrich themselves,” said the Justice Department.
The wealth laundering began astir July 2015 and continued until astatine slightest 2020, said the Justice Department.
The indictment stated that the 5 individuals and their co-conspirators received $1.6 cardinal from Venezuela and transferred $180 cardinal done oregon to slope accounts successful the U.S.
Each of the defendants was charged successful a five-count indictment with 1 number of conspiracy to perpetrate wealth laundering and 4 counts of wealth laundering. If convicted, they volition each look a maximum punishment of 100 years successful prison.
One of the defendants, Vargas, was sanctioned successful Britain successful July this twelvemonth for exploiting 2 of Venezuela’s nationalist programs that were intended to assistance mediocre Venezuelans with affordable nutrient and housing.
“They benefitted from improperly awarded contracts, wherever promised goods were delivered astatine highly inflated prices,” said the UK Foreign Office successful a statement. “Their actions caused further suffering to already poverty-stricken Venezuelans, for their ain backstage enrichment.”
In 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Vargas who was accused of being a “profiteer orchestrating a immense corruption web that has enabled erstwhile President Nicolás Maduro (Maduro) and his authorities to importantly nett from nutrient imports and organisation successful Venezuela.”
Vargas’ concern associate, Alex Saab, was reported to person adjacent ties with Maduro’s regime.
Saab was “frequently paying bribes and kickbacks to Government of Venezuela officials, to triumph overvalued authorities contracts,” according to a statement by the U.S. Treasury Department.
Defendant Jose Gregorio Vielma-Mora was sanctioned by Canada successful 2017 for “significant corruption and violations of quality rights successful Venezuela, which are contributing to the superior situation successful that country.”