WASHINGTON – A former
Venezuelan government minister and a former officer at Venezuela’s state-owned
and state-controlled electricity company, Corporación Eléctrica Nacional, S.A.
(Corpoelec), were charged in an indictment returned today for their alleged roles
in laundering the proceeds of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
(FCPA) in connection with their alleged receipt of bribes to award Corpoelec
business to U.S.-based companies. Today’s indictment follows the guilty
pleas earlier this week of two businessmen for conspiring to violate the FCPA
in connection with the corrupt payment scheme at Corpoelec.
Agent in Charge Adolphus P. Wright of the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration’s Miami Field Division (DEA Miami), Assistant Attorney General Brian
A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and U.S. Attorney
Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida made the
Alfredo Motta Dominguez (Motta), 60, and Eustiquio Jose Lugo Gomez (Lugo), 55,
both of Venezuela, were charged in an eight-count indictment returned today in
the Southern District of Florida with one count of conspiracy to commit money
laundering and seven counts of money laundering. Until recently, Motta was
the minister of electrical energy in Venezuela and the head of Corpoelec; Lugo
was the procurement director at Corpoelec.
indictment alleges that beginning in or around January 2016 and continuing
through December 2018, Motta and Lugo conspired with others to launder the
proceeds of an illegal bribery scheme to and from bank accounts located in
southern Florida. According to the indictment, Motta and Lugo awarded three
Florida-based companies more than $60 million in procurement contracts with
Corpoelec in exchange for bribes paid to them or for their benefit. The
indictment further alleges that the unlawful activity was a bribery scheme that
violated the FCPA and involved bribery offenses against
Venezuela. According to the charges, a substantial portion of the proceeds
from the corrupt contracts was laundered through U.S. financial institutions
using bank accounts located in the Southern District of Florida.
indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendants are presumed innocent
until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
June 24, 2019, Jesus Ramon Veroes, 69, of Venezuela, and Luis Alberto Chacin
Haddad, 54, of Miami, Florida, each pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge
Cecilia M. Altonaga of the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy
to violate various provisions of the FCPA. Veroes and Chacin are scheduled
to be sentenced by Judge Altonaga on Sept. 4, 2019.
to admissions made in connection with their guilty pleas, Veroes and Chacin
agreed with each other and with other co-conspirators to make corrupt payments
to foreign officials at Corpoelec in exchange for the award of procurement
contracts to Florida-based companies. Under the terms of their plea
agreements, Veroes and Chacin will each be required to forfeit at least $5.5
million in profits from the corruptly obtained contracts, as well as real
property in the Miami area.
case was investigated by DEA Miami with assistance from the IRS Criminal
Investigations Miami Field Office and the FBI’s Miami Field Office. Trial
Attorney John-Alex Romano of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Trial
Attorney Joseph Palazzo of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset
Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael B. Nadler of the Southern
District of Florida are prosecuting the case.
The 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.