Former official at PDVSA pleaded guilty on charge of money laundering: US

Vastavam web: A former official of a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA pleaded guilty on Thursday to a U.S. charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering, the U.S. Justice Department said.Cesar Rincon, a Venezuelan citizen who was extradited to the United States from Spain after his arrest there last year, pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, the department said.Rincon, 50, a former general manager at PDVSA’s procurement unit Bariven, agreed to forfeit $7.03 million, and faces sentencing on July 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Others charged included Nervis Villalobos, a former Venezuelan vice minister of energy; Rafael Reiter, who worked as PDVSA’s head of security and loss prevention; and Luis Carlos de Leon, a former official at a state-run electric company.Also charged in the case is Alejandro Isturiz Chiesa, an assistant to Bariven’s president, who remains at large.

As part of his plea agreement, Rincon also admitted to soliciting and receiving bribes from other owners of U.S.-based energy companies in exchange for helping them win business with PDVSA.All five were charged with money laundering, while De Leon and Villalobos were also charged with conspiring to violate the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.The case flowed out of a U.S. investigation into what prosecutors have previously called a $1 billion bribery plot involving payments to PDVSA officials that became public with the arrest of two businessmen in 2015.