Florida men found guilty of illegally transferring money from Venezuela




  • In US
  • 2017-11-17 23:03:42Z
  • By By Brendan Pierson

By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The owners of a Florida construction equipment exporter were convicted of illegally transferring more than $100 million from businesses largely in Venezuela to U.S. and foreign bank accounts.

Luis Diaz Jr., 75, and his son, Luis Javier Diaz, 50, were found guilty late on Thursday of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and of international money laundering by a jury in Manhattan federal court, court records showed. Prosecutors said some of the money was transferred into accounts belonging to Venezuelan government officials.

"The conviction of Luis Javier Diaz reflects how business persons can easily be unfairly ensnared by complex government regulations that are only understandable only to specialized lawyers and bureaucrats," Jose Quinon, a lawyer for Luiz Javier Diaz, said in an email.

A lawyer for Diaz Jr. could not immediately be reached.

The two were arrested in Miami in December 2016 and charged with using their Doral, Florida-based company, Miami Equipment & Export Co, to transfer funds for a fee. Prosecutors said the company was not registered with the state of Florida or with the U.S. Treasury Department, as required by Florida and U.S. law.

The company transferred money into and through the U.S. financial system without going through licensed financial institutions, which would report any suspicious activity to authorities, prosecutors said.

Diaz Jr. and Diaz transferred more than $100 million on behalf of KCT, a large Venezuelan consortium of construction companies, according to prosecutors. They transferred the money using fake invoices to make it appear the transfers had legitimate business reasons, prosecutors said.

Miami Equipment received about $1 million in fees for carrying out the transfers, prosecutors said.

The case is one of several that U.S. authorities have brought against individuals connected to Venezuela, including Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efrain Antonio Campo Flores, nephews of the country's first lady who were convicted of drug trafficking conspiracy last year.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called that case an instance of "U.S. imperialism." The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela.

Venezuela, an oil-producing nation of 30 million people, is suffering a fourth year of brutal recession, with the highest inflation in the world, shortages of food and medicines, and many people having to skip meals or suffering preventable illnesses.


(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Desperate for jobs, Venezuelan immigrants turn to ride-hailing services across Latin America
Desperate for jobs, Venezuelan immigrants turn to ride-hailing services across Latin America

Matthew Carpenter-Arévalo Contributor

Backchannel,
Backchannel, 'Dracula' help free Utah man in Venezuela

A secret backchannel led by a veteran Republican Senate staffer and a flamboyant Venezuelan official nicknamed "Dracula" broke through hostile relations between the two governments to secure the release of American prisoner Joshua Holt, who traveled to the South American country for love and

US Gulf Coast braces for impact as Alberto approaches
US Gulf Coast braces for impact as Alberto approaches
  • World
  • 2018-05-27 14:57:50Z

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Normally packed with vacationers over the Memorial Day weekend, beaches along the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast were largely empty Sunday as a slowly intensifying storm carrying brisk winds and heavy rain approached.

Freed from a Venezuela jail, US couple arrive back home
Freed from a Venezuela jail, US couple arrive back home

An American and his wife held nearly two years in a Venezuelan jail received a hero's welcome at the White House as they returned home Saturday following their release -- a move by sanctions-hit Caracas in a bid to spur dialogue with Washington. "Very glad that Josh Holt is now back home with his family - where he has always belonged. Sanctions continue until democracy returns to Venezuela," Pence said in a tweet.

Family grateful for Utah man
Family grateful for Utah man's 'miracle' Venezuela release

A Utah man jailed in Venezuela on weapons charges nearly two years ago was released Saturday after U.S. officials and his family pressed for his freedom from the South American country. "We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle," Joshua Holt's family said in a statement.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.