Nurse of former Venezuelan President Chávez appears in US court for money laundering

The nurse of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, appeared this Friday for the first time before the US justice, which she accuses of laundering money taking advantage of her position as treasurer of the Caracas government, which she held between 2011 and 2013.

Díaz Guillén went to a federal court in West Palm Beach, some 100 km north of Miami, Florida, hours after arriving in the United States from Spain, which extradited her on Thursday.

At his next hearing, on May 17, Díaz Guillén must state whether or not he pleads guilty to the two crimes he is charged with: conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering.

The Prosecutor’s Office affirms that she participated, together with her husband, Adrián José Velásquez Figueroa, in an extensive corruption scheme through exchange houses, which allowed the embezzlement of 2,400 million dollars, according to the US Treasury.

The case also involves Alejandro Andrade Cedeno, who was treasurer of the Venezuelan government between 2007 and 2010, and businessman Raúl Gorrín, owner and president of the Venezuelan channel Globovisión.

The network allegedly diverted funds through exchange houses that, under the authority of the Venezuelan Treasury, exchanged dollars for bolivars at a higher rate than the official one.

According to the indictment, Gorrín paid “millions of dollars in bribes” to Andrade, Díaz Guillén and Velásquez to guarantee access to that exchange system.

Andrade, who was released from prison in February, had been sentenced in 2018 in the United States to 10 years in prison for corruption and money laundering for more than 1,000 million dollars.

Velásquez Figueroa, wanted for the same crimes as his wife, is in Spain awaiting his extradition.

And Gorrín, who is in Venezuela, is considered a fugitive by United States justice.

The Prosecutor’s Office requested this Wednesday that Díaz Guillén be denied bail.

The Venezuelan, who was Chávez’s personal nurse between 1999 and 2013, had been under house arrest in Madrid since her arrest in December 2020, at the request of US authorities.

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