Jury finds Hugo Chavez's ex-nurse guilty of money laundering – The Associated Press – en Español

MIAMI (AP) — The previous nurse of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been discovered responsible of cash laundering in connection to bribes paid by a billionaire media mogul to inexperienced gentle profitable forex transactions when she served because the nation’s nationwide treasurer.
A jury in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, deliberated for just some hours Tuesday earlier than discovering Claudia Diaz and her husband, Adrían Velasquez, responsible of 5 of the six counts detailed in a 2020 indictment accusing them of taking not less than $4.2 million in bribes.
The couple, who shall be sentenced in February, face a most of 20 years in jail for every of the prison counts.
The jury trial was seen as a critical test of federal prosecutors’ ability to hold accountable so-called Venezuelan kleptocrats for fleecing the oil wealthy nation.
The U.S. Division of Justice has aggressively investigated corruption in Venezuela’s socialist authorities, profiting from the U.S.′ distinctive place because the vacation spot of alternative till not too long ago for insiders to stash their ill-gotten good points. However Diaz was was the primary former senior official to really struggle expenses and had she managed to stroll free it might’ve drastically undermined that decade-long effort.
In keeping with the indictment, Diaz and Velasquez acquired funds from firms managed by their co-defendant, fugitive Venezuelan media mogul Raul Gorrin, to accounts in Miami allegedly used to pay for the couple’s in any other case unexplained lavish life-style.
The federal government’s case relied closely on the testimony of one in every of Diaz’s predecessors as Treasurer, Alejandro Andrade, who took the witness stand to testify that the kickback scheme he struck with Gorrin continued underneath Diaz.
Like Diaz, Andrade, a former presidential safety officer, leveraged a private reference to Chavez to rise by way of the ranks of the military and the Venezuelan state, amassing an enormous fortune nearly in a single day.
In 2021, he was launched from jail after serving lower than half of a 10-year sentence for his function in a large scheme to siphon hundreds of thousands from state coffers. As a part of his plea settlement, he forfeited greater than $260 million in money and belongings, together with an oceanfront Palm Seashore mansion, luxurious automobiles, show-jumping horses and several other Rolex and Hublot watches.
Attorneys for the couple expressed their disappointment with the decision.
“We’ll proceed to struggle for our purchasers,” Marissel Descalzo and Andrew Feldman stated in a press release.
The trial passed off as usually hostile relations between the U.S. and Venezuelan are beginning to ease after the Trump-era coverage of “most stress” to take away President Nicolás Maduro has stalled.
Not too long ago the Biden administration loosened crushing oil sanctions in opposition to the OPEC nation, permitting U.S. oil firm Chevron for the primary time in additional than three years to renew manufacturing to help fledgling negotiations with the opposition.
However ongoing prison investigations in opposition to Venezuelan insiders stay intently watched in south Florida, dwelling to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans fleeing leftist rule of their homelands.

Comply with Goodman on Twitter: @APJoshGoodman



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