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As Venezuela Spiraled Into Impoverished Hellscape, Rich Expats Cashed In, Records Reveal

Miami Herald
A source described Martin Lustgarten as a ‘pioneer in what later became the regular usage of the Venezuelan foreign exchange market to launder drug and corruption proceeds.’ A Miami resident, Lustgarten has managed to avoid prison and maintain a lavish lifestyle by dishing on his former associates to federal prosecutors.

A few years ago, Venezuelan money maven Martin Lustgarten was stuck in a federal lockup on charges of laundering millions of dollars for Latin American drug traffickers as he confronted the grim reality of spending the rest of his life in prison.

Today, Lustgarten is a free man living in a $1 million Miami high-rise unit overlooking Biscayne Bay in a building aptly called Blue Condo — his criminal case dismissed because federal prosecutors mishandled it and couldn’t even take him to trial.

Lustgarten continues to count the money he amassed as a currency broker for Venezuelan business elites suspected of stealing billions and moving their fortunes to bank accounts in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Panama and Miami, according to sources familiar with his history. But behind the scenes, he has also been helping the federal government build criminal cases against his former compatriots.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.