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Money Conspiracy That Got Ex-Chávez Aide 10 Years Here Is A Common Venezuelan Scheme

Miami Herald
Former Venezuelan treasurer Alejandro Andrade.

The former treasurer of Venezuela’s socialist government was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday in Miami for heading a billion-dollar corruption plot. This is how that all too common Venezuelan scheme works.

Alejandro Andrade was a top aide to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez – which led to his post as national treasurer. That gave Andrade carte blanche access to Venezuela’s wildly distorted exchange-rate system.

Distorted because for years Chávez’s socialist regime controlled the exchange rate for Venezuela’s currency, the bolívar, to keep it strong against the U.S. dollar. But it was completely unrealistic – and it created a huge gap between the official exchange rate and the more realistic black-market rate.

But those who were allowed to exchange bolívares for dollars at the official rate could turn around and exchange those dollars at the black-market rate. And make a massive profit. And so Andrade took about a billion dollars in bribes from people who wanted in on that scheme.

Andrade then helped them launder more than $2 billion in gains. He moved to Palm Beach County – where he lived a billionaire’s lifestyle – complete with a lavish show horse collection – until the U.S. government uncovered the source of his riches. U.S. officials believe there are other Venezuelans living in South Florida with similar tainted wealth.