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Venezuela’s Business Elite Face Scrutiny In $1.2 Billion Money Laundering Case

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PEDRO PORTAL
/
MIAMI HERALD
Venezuelan exiles in Miami anxiously follow news coming out of Venezuela through media outlets including television channels and social media at El Arepazo restaurant in Doral.

As Venezuela’s oil-based economy continues to crumble, a politically connected class of businessmen with financial ties to Miami has grown fabulously wealthy from energy deals with the socialist government. Among the Venezuelan upper crust who have made fortunes during the Bolivarian revolution: Alejandro Betancourt.

Without any experience in the energy industry, Betancourt co-founded a power company called Derwick Associates a decade ago that has reaped billions of dollars in government contracts for a string of new plants in Venezuela — drawing barbs about being overpaid for the projects and having cozy relationships with top politicians.

With his windfall, Betancourt not only expanded his business into the United States but also bought a penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Olympic Tower, along with a castle estate and other luxury properties in Spain, according to court documents.

Read more at our news partner the Miami Herald.