6 September 2018
On June 22nd, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the extradition to the United States of Rafael Ernesto Reiter, former head of security and loss prevention for the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA. Reiter was demanded by the United States to be tried for his alleged involvement in money laundering, international corruption and organized crime.
Last January, the Spanish Council of Ministers also approved the extradition to the United States of César David Rincón, former head of a PDVSA subsidiary.
These former PDVSA executives, along with Venezuela’s former vice minister of energy, Nervis Gerardo Villalobos, and the former finance director for the electric company of Caracas, Luis Carlos León, were detained in October of 2017 by the Spanish Police Force (Guardia Civil) when an international arrest warrant was issued by a Texas court and processed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
After their arrest, the aforementioned were sent before the Central Criminal Investigation Court No. 2 of the Audiencia Nacional, a Spanish high court which has been handling the extradition proceedings up to this point.
The summoned Venezuelan senior officials and former executives, all of whom are connected to the Chávez regime, allegedly formed part of an organized network that made millions of dollars in illegal commissions and bribes in exchange for awarding contracts and manipulation of tenders.
These illegal commissions and bribes were allegedly paid between 2012 and 2017 through the Private Bank of Andorra to accounts of Panamanian companies, and later the funds were transferred to accounts in Switzerland and Belize.
The investigations taking place in the United States also indicate that the money obtained illegally through this organized network was laundered through a series of complex financial operations that in some cases involved buying real estate in the United States.
Furthermore, regarding the laundering of PDVSA’s funds, Spain is currently conducting criminal proceedings against José Roberto Rincón Bravo (son of Venezuelan businessman Roberto Enrique Rincón Fernández, who was tried in the United States) for allegedly laundering several million euros from the Venezuelan state-owned oil company by buying various properties in Spain.
These proceedings are currently being heard by Madrid’s Criminal Investigation Court No. 27, which ordered the arrest of Mr. Rincón Bravo and ruled on June 6th, 2018 that he be detained until trial considering that he is a flight risk. The court also ordered the search of various properties that the suspect acquired in Spain, and it is currently investigating certain funds transfers made from several countries (the U.S., among others) to Spanish accounts as possible money laundering.
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