Former Venezuelan National Treasurer and Her Spouse Charged in Connection with International Bribery and Money Laundering Scheme

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.

The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters.  Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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    The Department of Energy's (DOE) Order 140.1 included provisions inconsistent with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board's (DNFSB) original enabling statute—the statute in place when the order was issued—and with long-standing practices. For example, GAO found that Order 140.1 contained provisions restricting DNFSB's access to information that were not included in the statute. GAO also found Order 140.1 to be inconsistent with long-standing DNFSB practices regarding staff's access to certain National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) meetings at the Pantex Plant in Texas, where nuclear weapons are assembled and disassembled (see fig.). In December 2019, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20 NDAA) amended DNFSB's statute to clarify and confirm DNFSB's authority and long-standing practices between the agencies. DOE replaced Order 140.1 with Order 140.1A in June 2020. National Nuclear Security Administration's Pantex Plant, Located Near Amarillo, Texas DNFSB, DOE, and NNSA officials that GAO interviewed identified concerns with Order 140.1 that GAO found are not addressed under DOE's Order 140.1A. In particular, DOE's Order 140.1A was not part of a collaborative effort to address DNFSB's remaining concerns related to access to information and other regular interagency interactions. For example, DNFSB officials cited concerns that DOE could interpret a provision of DNFSB's statute authorizing the Secretary of Energy to deny access to information in a way that could limit DNFSB access to information to which it has had access in the past. GAO has previously recommended that agencies develop formal written agreements to enhance collaboration. By collaborating to develop an agreement that, among other things, incorporates a common understanding of this provision, DOE and DNFSB could lessen the risks of DNFSB being denied access to information important for conducting oversight. DOE and NNSA officials, as well as contractor representatives involved in operating the facilities, also raised concerns that insufficient training on Order 140.1 contributed to uncertainties about how to engage with DNFSB staff when implementing the order, a problem that GAO found could persist under Order 140.1A. Providing more robust training on Order 140.1A would help ensure consistent implementation of the revised order at relevant facilities. Established by statute in 1988, DNFSB has broad oversight responsibilities regarding the adequacy of public health and safety protections at DOE defense nuclear facilities. In May 2018, DOE issued Order 140.1, a new order governing DOE's interactions with DNFSB. DNFSB raised concerns that the order could affect its ability to perform its statutory mandate. Congressional committee reports included provisions for GAO to review DOE Order 140.1. This report examines (1) the extent to which the order was consistent with DNFSB's original enabling statute and with long-standing practices, as well as actions DOE has taken in light of changes to the statute outlined in the FY20 NDAA; and (2) outstanding areas of concern that DNFSB and DOE identified, and the potential effects of these concerns on how the two agencies cooperate. GAO reviewed legislation and agency documents; visited DOE sites; and interviewed DNFSB, DOE, and NNSA officials and contractor representatives. GAO is making a recommendation to DOE and DNFSB that they collaborate to develop a written agreement, and an additional two recommendations to DOE, including that it develop more robust training on Order 140.1A. DOE and DNFSB agreed to develop a written agreement. DOE agreed with one of the other two recommendations, but did not agree to provide more robust training. GAO maintains that the recommended action is valid. For more information, contact Allison Bawden at (202) 512-3841 or bawdena@gao.gov.
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  • Priority Open Recommendations: Office of Management and Budget
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In April 2020, GAO identified 35 priority recommendations for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Since then, OMB has implemented four of those recommendations by, among other things, taking actions to help reduce improper payments across the federal government and improve the quality of agency spending data. In June 2021, GAO identified 13 additional priority recommendations for OMB, bringing the total number to 44. These recommendations involve the following areas: Improving government performance. Increasing availability and transparency of government data. Improving acquisition management and reducing costs. Reducing government-wide improper payments. Strengthening information security. Establishing controls for disaster relief. Improving oversight of agency collection and coordination of federal data on sexual violence. Improving federal real property asset management. Improving information management. OMB's continued attention to these issues could yield significant cost savings and other improvements in government operations. Why GAO Did This Study Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations. For more information, contact Michelle Sager at (202) 512-6806 or sagerm@gao.gov.
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  • Trinidad and Tobago Travel Advisory
    In Travel
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    In Travel
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  • New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty to Violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
    In Crime News
    A New Jersey man who controlled two U.S.-based companies pleaded guilty today for paying a total of $100,000 in bribes to a Korean government official in order to obtain and retain contracts with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), a state-owned and state-controlled agency within the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of National Defense.
    [Read More…]
  • AAR Corp. Agrees to Pay $11 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations on Aircraft Maintenance Contract and to Pay Penalties Assessed by the FAA
    In Crime News
    AAR Corp., located in Wood Dale, Illinois, and its subsidiary, AAR Airlift Group Inc. (Airlift), located in Melbourne, Florida, have agreed to pay the United States $11,088,000 to resolve False Claims Act allegations in connection with aircraft maintenance services performed by Airlift on two U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) contracts. 
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  • Remarks at the 7th Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue
    In Climate - Environment - Conservation
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  • Department of Justice Announces Arrests in Conspiracy and Dog Fighting Ring Investigation
    In Crime News
    An indictment was unsealed today charging 11 individuals on a 136-count federal indictment including violations of drug conspiracy, drug possession, and drug possession with the intent to distribute, and violations of the dog fighting prohibitions of the federal Animal Welfare Act, and conspiracy to commit the same.
    [Read More…]
  • Ambassador Pamela Spratlen Designated as Senior Advisor to Department Health Incident Response Task Force
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Las Vegas Woman Arrested and Charged with Illegally Exporting Goods to Iran
    In Crime News
    A Las Vegas woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to export goods from the United States to Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations.
    [Read More…]
  • Lifting Self-Imposed Restrictions on the U.S.-Taiwan Relationship
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • After 40 Years of Progress, It Is Time to End the HIV Epidemic
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
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  • Special Envoy Rayburn Travel to the United Arab Emirates and Jordan
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Massachusetts Man Charged with Child Pornography Possession
    In Crime News
    A Sutton, Massachusetts, man was arrested and charged today with possession of child pornography.
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    In Travel
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  • U.S. Law Enforcement Takes Action Against Approximately 2,300 Money Mules In Global Crackdown On Money Laundering
    In Crime News
    The U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and six other federal law enforcement agencies announced the completion of the third annual Money Mule Initiative, a coordinated operation to disrupt the networks through which transnational fraudsters move the proceeds of their crimes.  Money mules are individuals who assist fraudsters by receiving money from victims of fraud and forwarding it to the fraud organizers, many of whom are located abroad.  Some money mules know they are assisting fraudsters, but others are unaware that their actions enable fraudsters’ efforts to swindle money from consumers, businesses, and government unemployment funds.  Europol announced a simultaneous effort, the European Money Mule Action (EMMA) today.
    [Read More…]