Former PDVSA official sentenced to $ 1 billion Venezuelan oil regime

Abraham Edgardo Ortega is one of nine people indicted in connection with the money laundering program. (Getty, Department of Justice)

A former executive with the Venezuelan state oil company has been sentenced to two years and four months in prison in connection with an alleged $ 1.2 billion money laundering scheme linked to southern real estate. Florida.

Abraham Edgardo Ortega, who was executive director of financial planning at PDVSA, admitted to accepting more than $ 12 million in bribes for his role, which allowed other Venezuelans accused of embezzling the money of the company, reported the Miami Herald.

Prosecutors allege that “kleptocrats” made loans to the oil company that made them rich overnight, in part thanks to Venezuela’s unique currency exchange system.

Ortega, who in 2018 pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, obtained a reduction in his sentence from the five years in prison to which he was sentenced for his cooperation with prosecutors, said reported the Herald.

His lawyer, Lilly Ann Sanchez, pleaded for a reduced sentence, saying he immediately came forward and cooperated.

A total of nine people were charged under the program in 2018, five of whom are still at large. Ortega is the second to receive a reduced sentence.

Swiss banker Matthias Krull’s 10-year sentence was reduced to three and a half years in September. Krull, accused of moving $ 600 million linked to the oil company’s scheme, also cooperated with prosecutors.

Prosecutors alleged that some of the siphoned off money ended up in local real estate, including a unit of the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach.

Ortega cried before federal judge Kathleen Williams in Miami on Wednesday, the Herald reported, as he acknowledged that the widespread program of “corruption” and embezzlement had led to the economic crisis in Venezuela.

[Miami Herald] – Lidia Dinkova

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