US: Former Venezuelan Treasurer Gets15 Years For Money Laundering

Claudia Diaz
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WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) – A former Venezuelan treasurer, who also served as an aide to late President Hugo Chavez and was convicted in the U.S. of money laundering, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday.

Claudia Diaz, a former Navy sergeant who served as Venezuela’s national treasurer from 2011 to 2013 and was Chavez’ nurse when he was being treated for cancer, was extradited from Spain to the United States in May 2022.

A Florida jury in December convicted Diaz, as well as her husband Adrian Velasquez, on two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in association with a corruption scheme in Venezuela.

U.S. District Court Judge William Dimitroulea in Florida sentenced Diaz and her husband, who also received 15 years, on Wednesday, the Justice Department said.

U.S. prosecutors in an indictment originally filed in 2020 said Diaz received at least $65 million in bribes between 2011 and 2013 in exchange for helping Raul Gorrin, also a Venezuelan national, obtain dollars at a favorable exchange rate.

Diaz, Velasquez and Gorrin purchased and paid expenses related to private jets, yachts, mansions, champion horses and a designer fashion line in South Florida, prosecutors said.

(This story has been refiled to remove an extraneous word in paragraph 4)

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Cynthia Osterman
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