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Former Venezuelan Official Surrenders To Feds In $1.2 Billion Money Laundering Case

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks outside the presidential palace.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks outside the presidential palace.

After two years under U.S. indictment, a former top lawyer in Venezuela’s oil ministry surrendered Monday in Miami federal court for his alleged supporting role in a massive corruption and money laundering scheme to steal $1.2 billion from the Venezuelan government, authorities said.

Carmelo Urdaneta Aqui, the former legal counsel to the Venezuelan Ministry of Oil and Mining, agreed to turn himself in and was escorted by federal agents on a flight to Miami over the weekend. Urdaneta is accused of accepting bribes along with other officials in the state-owned oil company known as PDVSA from wealthy people who were close to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and did business with his government.

Urdaneta, 46, pleaded not guilty to a money-laundering conspiracy charge that potentially carries up to 20 years in prison. He was granted a $1.5 million bond, secured by four properties that he owns in South Florida, by Magistrate Judge Lauren Louis under an agreement between his defense attorney and prosecutors.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.