The defense of former Venezuelan national treasurer Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, extradited from Spain to the US, asked the court on Monday to grant her bail, because, she said, “There is no risk of flight”, since he has no money and cannot return to Venezuela without danger to his life.
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In the first document presented by the defense after Díaz Guillén arrived in the US to answer for charges of money laundering in relation to an alleged million-dollar corruption scheme in Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela, the lawyer Marissel Descalzo emphasizes in what the defendant has Spanish nationality, is a wife, mother of two children and a “woman of faith”.
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Díaz Guillén was national treasurer from 2011 to 2013 and before that she was part of the medical team of the late President Hugo Chávez, while her husband, Adrián José Velásquez Figueroa, also pending extradition, was the head of security for the president.
Those popularly known as Chavez’s “nurse” and “bodyguard” established their residence in Spain in 2016 and have two minor children, according to the document.
Barefoot assures in the petition to which Efe had access that “there is no risk
escape”, the opposite of what the Prosecutor’s Office affirmed in the first judicial appointment last Friday, one day after the arrival in Florida of Díaz Guillén.
They have no money to escape, says the Defense
Among other reasons -says the lawyer- because neither Díaz Guillén nor her husband have “sufficient assets neither inside nor outside the US to pay for the escape and they cannot return to Venezuela”.
Returning to their native country would be “the equivalent of endangering their own lives since (…) they were expelled from Venezuela by the secret police in 2013,” says the lawyer, who thus responds to the Prosecutor’s Office that, among the reasons to ask that she be kept in prison, she mentioned her strong ties to the Venezuelan regime.
Barefoot also supports his request that Díaz Guillén was subject to bail throughout the extradition process in Spain and did not escape, and, in another order of things, he states that there is a precedent in the jurisprudence of granting that criminal benefit. to foreign defendants.
Díaz Guillén is summoned this Tuesday to his second appearance before the federal court in West Palm Beach, about 100 kilometers north of Miami, in southern Florida, where his case is pending.
In addition to noting that the extradited woman has several friends and at least one relative in South Florida, the Miami attorney asserts that her client “has no criminal record anywhere in the world and that the charges against her are all of a non-criminal nature. violent and there are no allegations of economic damage to a specific person.
Díaz Guillén is accused of “conspiracy to commit money laundering” and “money laundering” in a case in which Raúl Gorrín Belisario, owner and president of the Venezuelan channel Globovisión, is also accused.
The plot for which it is claimed
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Gorrín paid millions of dollars in bribes to two former Venezuelan national treasurersAlejandro Andrade Cedeño and Claudia Díaz Guillén.
He also paid Velásquez, for the benefit of Díaz Guillén, to secure the rights
to carry out foreign currency exchange transactions at favorable rates.
Gorrin, the indictment notes, “electronically transferred money for the benefit of Andrade and Diaz, including money for private jets, yachts, houses, champion horses, high-end watches and a fashion line.”
The Venezuelan media businessman was formally charged in August 2018 as an accessory to “conspiracy to launder money” and “money laundering.”
For his part, Andrade Cedeño, also a Venezuelan citizen, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in November 2018 for his “participation in the conspiracy to commit money laundering.”
As part of the plea agreement, Andrade admitted that he received more than $1 billion in bribes from Gorrin and others “in exchange for
to use his position as Venezuelan national treasurer to select them to carry out currency exchange transactions at favorable rates for the country.
Both Díaz Guillén and Velásquez have been subject to economic sanctions since January 2019 by a US Treasury agency due to their alleged participation in the corruption network that achieved more than 2.4 billion dollars with the illicit use of the system. Venezuelan exchange.
In addition to Guillén and Gorrín, the Treasury also imposed sanctions on five other individuals and 23 entities used by the network to channel the funds with registered offices in New York, Miami, Delaware and the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
As a consequence, the assets that these persons and entities could have under US jurisdiction were frozen and it was prohibited to carry out financial transactions with them.
*With information from Eph.
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