The former financial Executive Director of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA admitted to the us court that he was involved in a corruption scheme and received bribes for granting priority status to borrowings of the Russian Bank and the French company.
“Ortega admitted that he and the co-defendant cooperated in laundering the $ 12 million he received as bribes,” the U.S. attorney’s office for the southern district of Florida said in a statement. The Prosecutor’s office adds that it is a “complex scheme of false investments”. It is reported by Reuters.
The investigation of this case is taking place against the background of an increasing number of other cases that are brought in the United States against other Venezuelan government officials, and may lead to new revelations about the role of foreign firms in corruption cases, which until now mainly concerned Venezuelan citizens.
According to investigators, Ortega received $ 5 million from a French oil company and a Russian Bank, according to the statement. Company names are not disclosed. Prosecutors said that in return for Ortega helped companies get “priority status” for loans to joint ventures in which they were partners with PDVSA.
It was beneficial for these companies because PDVSA agreed to accelerate the flow of cash coming out of joint ventures that slowed after the 2008 financial crisis if the companies provided loans, the statement said.
In 2013, PDVSA announced that it had signed an agreement with Russian Gazprombank for $ 1 billion to Finance a joint venture between the two companies Petrozamora.
In 2014, oil Minister Rafael Ramirez announced a $ 420 million loan from the Anglo-French oil company Perenco to increase production at the joint venture Petrowarao.
Ortega has received 12 million dollars through the scheme of embezzlement of PDVSA, built around a system of control over the country’s currency, which for many years allowed the state officials who have contact with the public, to buy subsidized dollars and resell them with huge profit.
More than a dozen people have pleaded guilty to an investigation by the broad justice Department into bribery in the PDVSA, which went public in 2015 with the arrest of U.S. contractors Roberto Rincon and Abraham Schier.
The government of President Nicolas Maduro called the us investigation politically motivated and accuses Washington of trying to undermine his government through financial sanctions.