MIAMI -- A Texas businessman and a Florida resident are accused of conspiring to bribe officials at Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA).
In a "Criminal Information" filed Wednesday in Federal Court in Houston, Charles Quintard Beech III of Texas is charged with Conspiracy and is alleged to have controlled “together with others” a number of closely-held companies that traded with PDVSA.
"On or about August 23, 2012, Defendant BEECH caused $132,240.32 to be wired from a U.S. bank account in the name of a company owned by Defendant BEECH to a Swiss bank account in the name of a company controlled by [Venezuela government PDVSA] Official G in exchange for Official G's assistant in giving priority to a company or companies owned by BEECH ahead of other PDVSA vendors with outstanding invoices," the Criminal Information charges.
In a second filing, Juan Jose Hernandez Comerma, a U.S. permanent resident since 2010 of Broward County, Florida, is charged with both conspiracy and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Hernandez Comerma is a minority owner of a Florida company controlled by Abraham Shiera Bastidas and is accused of conspiring with Shiera, Roberto Rincon and others.
Shiera and Rincon have already pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing for bribing PDVSA officials after they were charged by the U.S. Justice Department along with two others with participating in a $1 BILLION bribery scheme to win contracts from PDVSA and its Bariven S.A. subsidiary.BIG PICTURE
Venezuelan businessmen Roberto Rincon and Abraham Jose Shiera were arrested in Houston and Miami, respectively, by the U.S. authorities on charges of fraud and money laundering involving Venezuela state-owned oil company PDVSA in December of 2015.
Shiera resided in Coral Gables, a rich suburb of Miami, Florida, and Rincon lived in a $5 million mansion in The Woodlands in the metropolitan area of Houston, Texas.
According to a court order in the case, from 2009 to 2014, more than $1 billion was traced to the conspiracy, with $750 million linked to Rincon.
Rincon’s arrest has a symbolic importance for the U.S. due to his alleged closeness to former director of the Venezuelan military intelligence, Gen. Hugo Carvajal, who is wanted in the U.S. for drug-trafficking offenses related to the FARC and who was arrested in July 2014 in the Dutch island of Aruba.
The Dutch authorities subsequently released Carvajal, owing to his diplomatic immunity as a consul of the island, and he returned to Venezuela where he received the backing of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who called the incident a “kidnapping.”
In October, the U.S. also arrested and charged former Venezuelan police officer Pedro Luis Martin Olivares, another alleged collaborator of Carvajal, according to the Attorney General’s Office of the Southern District of Florida.
Rincon and Shieras pled guilty to the indictment which said five PDVSA officials, whom it did not name, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes made principally in the form of wire transfers but also through mortgage payments, airlines tickets and, in one case, whiskey.
PDVSA has filed for the return of the stolen funds as a victim of the scheme and is asking for the return of more than $600 million in restitution.
US v Charles Quintard Beech III - Information Charges - 4 Jan 2017 by Latin American Herald Tribune on Scribd
US v Juan Jose Hernandez-Comerma - Information Charge - 4 January 2017 by Latin American Herald Tribune on Scribd