Venezuelan ex-official gets 10 years in US jail for corruption

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 28 2018 06:29 AM

A former official in the government of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in US prison after pleading guilty in a billion-dollar money laundering case.

Alejandro Andrade Cedeno, who was president of the Venezuelan National Treasury Office (ONT) between 2007 and 2010, admitted to receiving over $1 billion in bribes from co-conspirators, according to prosecutors.

In exchange, he used his position "to select them to conduct currency exchange transactions at favorable rates for the Venezuelan government," the Justice Department said.

"Andrade received cash as well as private jets, yachts, cars, homes, champion horses and high-end watches from his co-conspirators."

The 54-year-old Venezuelan citizen residing in Wellington, Florida, admitted his guilt on December 22, 2017.

The United States has very tense ties with Venezuela, where Chavez's successor Nicolas Maduro presides over an imploding state-led economy. Shortages of food and medicine combined with violent crime have fueled mass emigration.

Crisis-torn Venezuela's socialist government has cracked down heavily on perceived breaches of strict currency exchange regulations, in place since 2003.

Maduro says his country is the victim of an "economic war" waged by the opposition and the United States.

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