August 25, 2022

DOJ charges Venezuelan businessman with laundering proceeds of alleged bribery scheme

On August 24, 2022, the US Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury indicted Venezuelan national Rixon Rafael Moreno Oropeza on federal  money laundering charges as part of a scheme under which he allegedly paid bribes to obtain contracts from Petropiar, a joint venture between Chevron Corp. and Venezuela’s state-owned and controlled energy company.  

According to the indictment, between 2015 and 2019, Morena used accounts that he controlled in South Florida to pay millions of dollars in bribes to senior Petropiar officials in exchange for multimillion-dollar contracts from the company.  Federal prosecutors contend that Moreno was paid more than $30 million on contracts with Petropiar and that the amounts received reflected substantially inflated prices as a result of the bribery scheme.  One such example was a contract that involved the supply of breathing devices.  The DOJ claims that the contract’s price was inflated to 100 times more than the actual cost of the devices.