Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Behind bars, Naman Wakil, the Syrian-Venezuelan "businessman" who bribed PDVSA officials and laundered money in the US
TUESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2021
by Maibort Petit
He was known in Caracas for being linked to the leaders of the Venezuelan regime and for having enriched himself thanks to corrupt businesses. This Tuesday, however, Naman Wakil was arrested by FBI agents in Miami, after being accused of crimes related to his alleged role in a plan to bribe Venezuelan officials and launder funds to obtain contracts from PDVSA and the controlled food company. by the Venezuelan State, Agricultural Supply and Services Corporation (CASA).
In September 2019, Venezuela Politics published a document that established the relationship between Nama Wakil and the former Minister of Food, Carlos Osorio.
According to court documents, from 2010 to at least September 2017, Naman Wakil, 59, a Syrian citizen and lawful permanent resident of the U.S., allegedly conspired with others to pay bribes to officials of the state-owned CASA company, those of PDVSA and several foreign companies that operate in the Orinoco oil belt of Venezuela.
Wakil reportedly paid bribes to obtain at least $ 250 million in contracts to sell food to CASA and do business with PDVSA's joint ventures, including obtaining highly inflated hires (worth about $ 30 million) to provide goods. and services to PDVSA's joint ventures.
Wakil laundered funds related to the bribery scheme to and from bank accounts located in South Florida and bought 10 apartment units in South Florida, a $ 3.5 million plane and a $ 1.5 million yacht, among other things. Wakil also used a portion of the funds to make payments to or for the benefit of Venezuelan officials.
Wakil is charged with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), violation of the FCPA, conspiracy to commit money laundering, international promotional money laundering and three counts of participation in transactions involving criminal property.
If convicted, Wakil faces a maximum penalty of 80 years in prison.
Today Tuesday, Wakil made his initial appearance in federal court at 1:30 PM before United States Magistrate Judge Lauren Louis in Miami.
The announcement of the arrest was made by the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, Kenneth A. Polite Jr .; the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Juan Antonio González; the Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Anthony Salisbury and the Acting Specialist of the IRS Field Office of Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) in Miami, Tyler R. Hatcher.