Venezuelan lawyer Carmelo Urdaneta Here, accused of conspiracy to launder money for more than 1,200 million dollars as part of a scheme involving the state oil company PDVSA, was sentenced this Thursday in Miami (Florida) to 4 years in prison, less than half of what the US Attorney’s Office requested.
In a memorandum to which he had access Eph dated this tuesday, The US government had asked the court for a 10-year prison sentence for Urdanetawho was an advisor to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mines in his country, but was finally sentenced to just over four years, according to the newspaper miami herald.
The US memorandum says of the Venezuelan that is “a sophisticated public servant with a law degree who conspired to launder more than 1,200 million dollarsin part, through accounts in the United States.”
In a federal court in Miami, Judge Kathleen Williams imposed In addition, a fine of 35,000 dollars to Urdaneta and approved the seizure of assets worth 49 million dollars from the lawyer.including a luxury apartment and a bank account in Switzerland, added the newspaper.
Urdaneta is one of the defendants in a case opened in the US for an alleged conspiracy that began in December 2014 and led to the embezzlement of some 1.2 billion dollars by the Venezuelan state company PDVSA, obtained through bribery and fraud.
The intention of those involved was to “launder” part of that amount through real estate acquisitions and false investments in Miami.according to the indictment, dating back to 2018.
Financial officials, real estate companies, banks and brokerage houses in the US and elsewhere are allegedly involved in the plot.
Urdaneta had reached an agreement with the US Attorney’s Office in July 2021 to plead guilty to the crime of “conspiracy to launder money”, according to court documents to which he had access Eph.
Under the collaboration agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, Urdaneta, 48, He responded only to the charge of conspiracy to launder money, since two other charges were dropped.
“A sophisticated public servant, with a law degree, should have resisted the temptation of bribery,” federal prosecutors Kurt Lunkenheimer and Paul Hayden wrote in the sentencing memorandum.
“As part of Urdaneta’s plea deal, US authorities seized a $5.3 million apartment in the Porsche Design Tower, in Sunny Isles Beach (north of Miami), along with two Miami Beach apartments and all their assets. in a Swiss bank account”, according to the aforementioned newspaper.
The defendant personally obtained more than “49 million dollars in bribe payments in exchange for his corrupt acts and decisions as Legal Advisor to the Venezuelan Ministry of Petroleum, which was the Venezuelan ministry responsible for the supervision of the Venezuelan owned and controlled oil entity. of the country, Petróleos de Venezuela, SA (‘PDVSA’),” the Prosecutor’s Office said.
In his memorandum, signed by the prosecutor Juan Antonio González and Lorinda Laryea, in charge of the Fraud section of the Prosecutor’s Office, the court is told that “such the conduct of a high-ranking Venezuelan official deserves an adequate sanction.”
Urdaneta turned himself in to the authorities in 2020 upon his arrival on a flight to Miami and He was released on $1.5 million bail.
Francisco Convit Guruceaga, José Vicente Amparan Croquer, Abraham Edgardo Ortega, Gustavo Adolfo Hernández Frieri, Hugo Andre Ramalho Gois, Matthias Krull and Marcelo Federico Gutiérrez were named in the same accusation, according to the court document.
In 2018, Krull, a German based in Panama, and Hernández Frieri, a Colombian nationalized American who was captured in Italy, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to launder money.
Apart from the US, several countries have been involved in the investigation of this case, including the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.
(With information from EFE)
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