US Charges Venezuelan Billionaire in $1 Billion Currency Fraud

United States fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors charged on Tuesday the own­er of a Venezuelan news net­work with mon­ey laun­der­ing and bribery for his role in a bil­lion-dol­lar cur­ren­cy exchange scheme to which a for­mer Venezuelan offi­cial and a for­mer own­er of a bank in the Dominican Republic plead­ed guilty.

Raul Gorrin at the office in Caracas (Instagram)The own­er of Globovision, Raul Gorrin, a Venezuelan nation­al who resides in Miami, bribed Venezuelan offi­cials with US$160 mil­lion “to secure the rights to con­duct for­eign cur­ren­cy exchange trans­ac­tions at favor­able rates for the Venezuelan gov­ern­ment,” accord­ing to the indict­ment.

Gorrin alleged­ly used mul­ti­ple shell com­pa­nies to pay the offi­cials, includ­ing two who held high offices in the Treasury, and bought them “jets, yachts, homes, cham­pi­on hors­es, high-end watch­es and a fash­ion line.”

Alejandro Andrade, a for­mer Venezuelan trea­sur­er who also resides in Florida, plead­ed guilty to receiv­ing over $1 bil­lion in bribes, includ­ing from Gorrin, in exchange for using his posi­tion to select Gorrin and his asso­ciates to con­duct cur­ren­cy exchange trans­ac­tions for the government.

Gorrin alleged­ly part­nered with Gabriel Arturo Jimenez to acquire Banco Peravia, a bank in the Dominican Republic, to laun­der bribes and pro­ceeds of the scheme.

Jimenez, who has been liv­ing in Chicago, Illinois, also plead­ed guilty to mon­ey laundering.

The bribes includ­ed “$14,422 for vet­eri­nary ser­vices” wired from a Swiss bank account and hun­dreds of thou­sands for horse trans­porta­tion costs. Gorrin alleged­ly paid $117,062 for home improve­ments for a Venezuelan official.

If the con­vic­tions come through, the US could seize 24 high-end prop­er­ties in Florida and New York, all of which Gorrin alleged­ly has an inter­est in.

Gorrin has close ties to President Nicolas Maduro as well as his pre­de­ces­sor Hugo Chavez, whom both have been tar­get­ed for cor­rup­tion by the US before, Univisionreport­ed.

The indict­ment may have come too late to pro­duce an arrest since Gorrin has not been seen near his lux­u­ri­ous man­sion and yacht in Miami for months.

His Instagram account shows he has been busy work­ing out and attend­ing com­pa­ny events in Caracas, the cap­i­tal of Venezuela.

US Charges Venezuelan Billionaire in $1 Billion Currency Fraud