Connect with us

Hot News

Ex-Venezuelan official convicted of money laundering released from US prison


Agency Report

A former Venezuelan treasury official convicted in 2018 of accepting more than $1 billion in bribes was released from US prison Wednesday, federal authorities said.

In October, Alejandro Andrade Cedeno’s ten-year sentence was reduced to 42 months for cooperating with the US Justice Department.

The 57-year-old, a friend and former bodyguard of the late-Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, was head of the Venezuelan National Treasury Office (ONT) between 2007 and 2010.

He admitted to US officials that in exchange for bribes — including cash, private planes, yachts and racehorses — he helped co-conspirators secure contracts to conduct foreign currency exchange transactions at favorable rates.

After leaving office, he moved to the city of Wellington, Florida, where he remained until his conviction.

In February 2019, he was incarcerated in the Loretto Federal Prison in Pennsylvania.

His release Wednesday was announced by the US Federal Bureau of Prisons.

US authorities in Miami are now targeting a Colombian businessman named Alex Saab, whom they accuse of being a frontman for shady dealings for the government of Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro.

Saab, a Colombian national, and his business partner Alvaro Pulido are charged in the United States with running a network that exploited food aid destined for Venezuela, an oil-rich nation mired in an acute economic crisis.

According to court documents declassified Wednesday, Saab became a confidential informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for a year starting in 2018 — though he denies the claim.

A US judge dismissed most charges against him, but he still faces one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which could carry a 20-year jail term.