June 2, 2021

Two Bolivian officials charged in scheme to launder bribe payments

On May 26, 2021, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it had arrested two Bolivian government officials and three US citizens for their alleged participation in a bribery and money laundering scheme.

The DOJ filed criminal complaints in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida charging all five individuals with one count each of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  According to these filings, between November 2019 and April 2020, three US citizens—Bryan Berkman, Luis Berkman, and Philip Lichtenfeld—paid $602,000 in bribes to Arturo Carlos Murillo Prijic (the former Bolivian Minister of Government) and Sergio Rodrigo Mendez Mendizabal (the former Bolivian Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Government) in exchange for the officials’ assistance in obtaining a $5.6 million Bolivian Ministry of Defense contract for Bryan Berkman’s Florida-based company.  The three US citizens are alleged to have laundered the bribe payments through bank accounts in Florida and Bolivia.  

DOJ Press Release | Complaint 1 | Complaint 2