Wednesday, December 1

The National Court approves to hand over to the United States the Venezuelan national ex-treasurer

The former national of Venezuela Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén.

The former national of Venezuela Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén.

The National audience has approved the extradition of the Venezuelan national ex-treasurer Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén to the United States, which claims her for money laundering and criminal organization for having favored the businessman Raúl Gorrín in a foreign currency exchange scheme that earned him hundreds of millions of dollars.

In a car, the magistrates of the Third Criminal Section consider that all the requirements are met to proceed with the extradition of the claimed-known as the nurse of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez-, for crimes that in the US are classified as association crime to commit money laundering and two crimes of money laundering. Equivalent in Spain to money laundering within a criminal organization and belonging to a criminal organization.

According to the claim of the Federal Court of the Southern District of Florida, from 2008 to 2017 Gorrín Belisario, together with Díaz Guillén and her husband Adrián Velásquez Figueroa (who was Chávez’s bodyguard and who has pending that the Court also rule on his extradition for the same events), participated with others in a “corrupt ploy” in relation to the exchange of foreign currency carried out by the Venezuelan government in exchange for bribes.

In 2019, the National Court refused to extradite Guillén and her husband to Venezuela, as well as an accountant from the state oil company PDVSA, taking into account the situation the country is going through, which it considered endangered their integrity.

Now he accepts the delivery to the United States of the former head of the Venezuelan Treasury in light of the documentation provided by the authorities of that country last year.

According to that documentation, Gorrín paid hundreds of millions of dollars to secure the right to participate, in more than a billion in United States currency, in foreign currency exchange transactions that brought him a profit of hundreds of millions of dollars.

In his strategy, Gorrín, together with others, offered, promised, authorized, and made corrupt payments to Venezuelan government officials, including two consecutive national treasurers, Alejandro Andrade Cedeno and Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, “in order to secure an undue advantage in the obtaining and retaining the right to carry out foreign currency exchange transactions with favorable rates “.

To conceal the payments, according to documentation from American authorities, Gorrín used bank accounts owned by shell companies and disguised numerous bribery payments to Díaz Guillén by making the payments to her husband rather than to her directly.

Between 2011 and 2013 the businessman made payments for bribes of at least $ 65 million to profit of the claimed through account transfers from Switzerland to the United States.

In addition to the bribes, Gorrín also bought and paid expenses related to private jets, yachts, mansions, champion horses, watches, and a fashion designer brand in the Southern District of Florida and the Southern District of Texas.

In its resolution, the Chamber rejects the arguments of the respondent to oppose the extradition, among them that it is already being investigated for the same events in Spain, as well as that having obtained Spanish nationality in April 2021 would be grounds to deny the delivery.

Regarding the first of the arguments, the judges conclude that it is not the same facts, since in Spain the investigation of the investigating court 28 of Madrid focuses on the acquisition of a home in the center of the capital for 1.8 million euros. euros with money from Switzerland, while the US claim refers to the establishment of a criminal organization and two alleged laundering offenses to buy a yacht and a fashion firm.

Also remember that there are other co-defendants who have pleaded guilty in the investigation being carried out in the United States and that they are collaborating with the authorities, for which the joint prosecution of all of them is appropriate.

Regarding Spanish nationality as a cause of denial, as well as its roots, the magistrates consider that the factors that the Plenary of the Criminal Chamber requires to reject the extradition of nationals are not met, such as the weighting on the seriousness and the connection or rooted in the country.

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