Two businessmen have been charged on foreign bribery, wire fraud and money laundering charges for their alleged involvement in a scheme to corruptly secure business advantages from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, PDVSA. Those charged include a former sales representative and the president of a United States-based company.
40-year-old Rafael Enrique Pinto Franceschi of Miami, Florida and 68-year-old Franz Herman Muller Huber of Weston, Florida were charged in a five-count indictment. Each was charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to launder money.
Pinto was a sale representative for a Miami-based PDVSA supplier, while Muller served as the president of a company, which is being referred to as Company A in the indictment. The two men are accused of conspiring with others to bribe three PDVSA officials into offering assistance in relation to Company A’s PDVSA business. The indictment alleges that PDVSA officials helped Company A obtain additional PDVSA contracts, inside information and payment on past due invoices in exchange for the bribes.
Two of the officials that were allegedly bribed by Pinto and Muller, Ivan Guedez and Jose Camacho, have already pleaded guilty in connection with the case. They are currently waiting sentencing. At this point in time, the defendants are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Further details can be found here.