February 24, 2020

Seventh defendant sentenced in Venezuela bribery investigation

On February 19, 2020, Alfonzo Eliezer Gravina Munoz was sentenced in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas to 70 months in prison for his role in a bribery scheme involving the Venezuelan state-owned energy company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PdVSA).  In December 2015, Gravina pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of making false statements.  As part of his plea, Gravina admitted to accepting bribes from US companies while serving as a purchasing manager at PdVSA in exchange for placing companies on PdVSA bidding panels and helping them win energy contracts with PdVSA.  

Almost three years after pleading guilty, on November 15, 2018, Gravina was charged in a separate indictment for conspiring to obstruct justice.  According to the indictment, Gravina concealed facts about the bribe scheme in interviews with the US government and informed an unidentified co-conspirator about US authorities’ investigation of the co-conspirator.  Gravina pleaded guilty to this charge in December 2018.  

On February 19, 2020, Gravina was sentenced on all three counts, receiving a total sentence of 70 months in prison.  Gravina was also ordered to pay $214,849.21 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.  Gravina was previously ordered to forfeit $590,446 in connection with the money laundering scheme.  

Twenty-six individuals have been charged in the DOJ’s investigation of bribery at PdVSA, and twenty have pleaded guilty.  Gravina is the seventh individual to be sentenced in the matter. 

DOJ press release | Information | Indictment