US: 8 charged in $1.2B Venezuelan money-laundering scheme

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MIAMI (AP) — Federal prosecutors say eight people have been charged with playing roles in a $1.2 billion money-laundering scheme involving Venezuela's state-run oil and natural gas company.

Miami U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg said in a news release Wednesday the scheme began in 2014 with bribery and fraud at the state-run PDVSA enterprise and grew over time. A criminal complaint contends the scheme involved members of the Venezuelan elite, money managers, brokerage firms, banks and real estate investment firms.

Two suspects have been arrested. Authorities say 44-year-old Mathias Krull, a German national and Panama resident, was arrested at Miami International Airport. Investigators say 45-year-old Gustavo Adolfo Hernandez Frieri, a Colombian national and naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested in Sicily. The other suspects are at large.

Court records list no attorneys for the men.

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