Senior Venezuelan Banking Official Allegedly Received at Least $5 Million in Bribes in Exchange for Directing Business to U.S. Defendants
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mythili Raman, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”), and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), today announced the unsealing of a Criminal Complaint against TOMAS ALBERTO CLARKE BETHANCOURT (“CLARKE”) and JOSE ALEJANDRO HURTADO, who were both employees of a U.S. broker-dealer (the “Broker-Dealer”), and MARIA DE LOS ANGELES GONZALEZ DE HERNANDEZ (“GONZALEZ”), who is a senior official in Venezuela’s state economic development bank, Banco de Desarrollo Económico y Social de Venezuela (“BANDES”), arising from a conspiracy to pay bribes to GONZALEZ in exchange for her directing BANDES’s financial trading business to the Broker-Dealer.
GONZALEZ, a resident of Caracas, Venezuela, was arrested in Miami, Florida, on Friday, May 3, 2013. CLARKE and HURTADO were also arrested Friday in Miami, where they reside. All three defendants were presented yesterday in federal court in Miami and remain in custody.