On February 12, 2018, five former officials of Venezuela’s state-owned energy company were charged with laundering the proceeds of bribes.  According to the indictment, the defendants—all of whom were at the time officials of state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (“PDVSA”) or other Venezuelan government instrumentalities—conspired to launder the proceeds of bribes that several of them had solicited from vendors in exchange for offering the vendors preferential treatment in dealings with PDVSA.  The five individuals allegedly laundered the proceeds of their bribery scheme through a series of international financial and real estate transactions, including in the United States and accounts based primarily in Switzerland.  With the unsealing of the indictment against these five defendants, the DOJ has now announced charges against a total of 15 individuals, 10 of whom have pleaded guilty, in connection with an ongoing investigation into bribery at PDVSA. United States v. De Leon-Perez, 17-cr-00514 (S.D. Tex.)

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