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Venezuela's former treasurer took $1 billion US in bribes, newly unsealed court documents reveal

Alejandro Andrade received properties, platinum and gold Rolex watches and Mercedes-Benz cars thanks to scheme

Venezuela's former national treasurer admitted receiving over $1 billion US in bribes as part of illicit foreign currency operations that involved a local television mogul now indicted in U.S. courts, according to court documents unsealed on Tuesday.

Alejandro Andrade, who ran the treasury for four years under late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, received properties, platinum and gold Rolex watches and Mercedes Benz vehicles thanks to the scheme, the documents from the Southern District of Florida say.

He did so with the help of conspirators, including Raul Gorrin, owner of television station Globovision, who has been charged with paying bribes to Andrade and others as well as helping to launder the payments, according to the documents unsealed this week.

The cases are part of a broad effort by U.S. federal prosecutors to crack down on the use of the U.S. financial system to launder proceeds from rampant corruption in the crisis-stricken country that is suffering from hyperinflation.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said little about criminal proceedings against former officials in his country but says the United States is seeking to undermine his government through financial sanctions.

The Venezuelan Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Both Andrade, who was treasurer from 2007 to 2011, and Gorrin made vast sums taking advantage of Venezuela's exchange controls, according to the documents.


Read more:  CBC