U.S. announces guilty plea of former Venezuelan petroleum executive in money laundering operation

By Marian Johns | Nov 8, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the guilty plea of a former Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) executive to participating in what the department is calling a "billion-dollar international money laundering scheme" involving the Venezuelan state-owned oil company.

According to the DOJ, Abraham Edgardo Ortega, PDVSA's previous head of financial planning, entered a plea of plotting to commit money laundering and working with another defendant to take bribe money. Ortega and his co-conspirator used a fake investment operation along with money managers, banks, real estate and brokerage firms.  

He admitted to taking $5 million in bribes to push through loan status to a French business as well as a Russian bank, the DOJ said. Ortega embezzled $1.2 billion through the fraudulent actions and bribery scheme, according to the federal agency.

Ortega's case stemmed from an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF) called "Operation Money Flight," according to the Justice Department.

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