A Venezuelan businessman was accused in Florida of laundering money after paying bribes to PDVSA


A Italian-Venezuelan citizen was indicted before a Florida judge for laundering money in the United States from inflated contracts, obtained thanks to the payment of bribes to officials of the state oil company PDVSAthe US justice announced on Wednesday.

Christmas D’Amato, 61 years old and resident in Venezuela, was accused of 11 crimes of money laundering and illegal transactions via the bank accounts of their companies in South Florida between January 2013 and December 2017, the Justice Department said in a statement.

During this period, D’Amato companies received about $ 160 million from PDVSA joint ventures in their Florida accounts with several foreign companies in the Orinoco Strip, a region very rich in oil.

According to the indictment, the accused used part of the money received to bribe at least five Venezuelan officials who worked in joint ventures Petrocedeño, Petropiar, Petromonagas, Sinovensa and Petromiranda, mostly owned and controlled by PDVSA, to obtain lucrative contracts at inflated prices to sell goods and services to these companies.

American justice seeks to seize $ 45 million currently in D’Amato’s Florida accounts involved in the alleged crimes.

The United States imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela that include an oil embargo in force since April 2019, and offers a 15 million dollar reward for information leading to the capture of President Nicolás Maduro, whom it accused of “narco-terrorism.”

Amid penalties and mismanagement, PDVSA lives its worst moments since the nationalization of the energy sector more than four decades ago.

Venezuela’s production, from 3.2 million barrels a day of crude 12 years ago, has fallen to 400,000 b / d in recent months, falling back to levels of the 1930s.

Despite having the largest proven crude oil reserves in the world, Venezuela has had to resort to ships loaded with gasoline and derivatives from Iran in recent months to alleviate an acute fuel shortage.

Despite pressure from the United States and 50 other countries that do not recognize him as president, Maduro remains in power backed by the Armed Forces and key allies such as China and Russia, as well as Iran, Cuba and Turkey.

(With information from AFP)


After allowing de facto dollarization, the Nicolás Maduro regime announced a tax on currency transactions

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