Former federal congressman David Rivera, who was arrested on monday in Atlanta and has been accused of laundering money, harming the United States and advocating for the government of Nicolás Maduro without registering as a foreign agent, he tried to at least enlist the help of his friend Senator Marco Rubio, according to transcended.
Rubio’s name is not mentioned in the indictment against Rivera. There is only the reference to a certain “Senator 1”, defined as “United States Senator from Florida”. The state has two federal senators, both Republicans: former Gov. Rick Scott and Rubio, a close friend of Rivera’s.
Rubio is also known for his direct confrontation with the Maduro government and for being a strong critic of the Venezuelan process with the support of a sector of the Venezuelan community in the United States.
The senator is not directly accused of anything and for years, most recently last August, has denied his participation in the events or being involved in anything similar. “I have nothing to do with it,” he told CBS at the time.
Rivera and Esther Nuhfer, who used to work for Rubio, are accused of using their access to the Florida senator and other elected officials to improve Venezuela’s standing with the United States, which had imposed tough sanctions against the Maduro government.
Rivera signed a secret consulting contract with the Venezuelan state oil company PDEVSA. The contract was for 50 million dollars. The federal indictment alleges Rivera received more than $23 million.
According to the indictment, Rivera and Nuhfer arranged two meetings with Rubio to discuss Venezuela. The first took place on July 9, 2017 at a private residence in Washington DC. In it, Rivera told Rubio that he was in contact with an individual identified in the indictment as “Foreign Individual 1,” who, according to that same source, “had persuaded President Maduro to accept an agreement whereby he would hold elections.” free”.
The indictment also discloses a text message Rivera sent to Nuhfer and two other unidentified individuals on July 10, 2017, stating that Rubio would meet with President Trump the next day “to tell him that you have the possibility in your hands to resolve the crisis in V [Venezuela]”
On July 11, Rivera sent a series of texts to Rubio: “Remember, the United States must facilitate, not just support, a negotiated solution.”
Moreover, “without revenge, reconciliation”.
On July 12, 2017, Rubio met again at a Washington hotel with Rivera, Nuhfer and three other people, including a “Venezuelan politician” who was on the phone. According to the accusation, the Venezuelan politician was a member of the Venezuelan National Assembly.
Ultimately, the discussions went nowhere. However, it is clear from the federal indictment that Rivera and Nuhfer used their ties to Rubio to solicit millions of dollars from the Venezuelan government.
Rubio has not spoken publicly about the accusation, but on Tuesday his office sent a statement to the local CBS channel in Miami introducing a new piece of information: the July 2017 meeting with a Venezuelan politician close to Maduro, Raúl Gorrín, who Its objective was to ask the senator to send a letter to then-President Trump on behalf of the Venezuelan president.
“During a July 2017 meeting, Mr. Rivera told Senator Rubio that Maduro’s close associate Raúl Gorrín wanted to personally deliver a letter from the dictator to the president outlining an agreement to hold free and fair elections. and leave power. A few days later, Gorrín arrived for a brief meeting in Washington, but he did not produce such a letter and did not even mention the possibility of such an agreement, ”he told the statement.
It continues: “As the indictment explicitly states, Mr. Rivera and his associates ‘never disclosed to any of the United States officials with whom they met that they were lobbying on behalf of the Government of Venezuela.’ Rubio directly communicated what he has said publicly for more than five years, that the only way sanctions can be lifted is if the regime accepts free and fair elections. If, as alleged, this was an effort to soften his stance on sanctions, it failed miserably.”