Venezuela’s political opposition leaders recently sued former Miami Congressman David Rivera, saying he must return – to their movement – millions of dollars he received from Venezuela’s oil industry. Now, according to the Miami Herald, there's a new development in the scandal.
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Venezuela’s state-run oil monopoly, Petróleos de Venezuela, used to be wholly controlled by the Venezuelan government. Last year its U.S. entity, PDV USA, came under control of an opposition government led by Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. recognizes as Venezuela’s legitimate president.
Guaidó’s interim government recently sued Rivera. That’s because in 2017 Rivera signed a $50 million contract with PDV USA to help Petróleos de Venezuela lobby the Trump administration. Rivera received $15 million – and now PDV USA wants that money back.
The suit alleges Rivera did not perform adequate lobbying services to earn those fees. And it also raises questions about why Rivera, supposedly a staunch anti-communist, was aiding Venezuela’s authoritarian socialist regime in the first place.
Rivera insists he was funneling the lobbying payments back to Venezuela’s opposition movement. But in a new report from the Herald, sources familiar with the case say Rivera actually funneled $4 million of his fees to a powerful ally of Venezuela’s regime, Raúl Gorrín – who is under U.S. indictment for corruption.
Rivera’s lawyer, Miami defense attorney Roy Kahn, told WLRN that Rivera is aware of no U.S. investigation involving him and Gorrín.