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Political Corruption - United States Southern District of Florida

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

The judge of the Southern District of Florida, Robert N. Scola Jr., sentenced this Wednesday the former Chavista mayor of the Guanta Municipality, Anzoátegui state, Jhonnathan Teodoro Marín Sanguino, to 27 months in prison for crimes related to corruption and money laundering.

Freedom Voice Reports

Venezuelan Politica

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Previously, the Court of the Southern District of Florida had issued a forfeiture order for USD 3,800,000, equivalent to the irregular funds received in their bank accounts in the United States, from bribes granted by contractors of Petróleos de Venezuela SA who were looking for through its intermediation, get millionaire contracts with the state company.

Marín agreed to collaborate with US federal prosecutors by providing information on the illegal activities of his partners, and of people linked to corruption schemes related to oil businesses in Venezuela, to achieve a less severe sentence, an objective that he achieved thanks to the government's recommendations.

Judge Scola also sentenced Marín to one year of supervised release and special conditions of surveillance. Likewise, the ruling gives the convict the possibility of surrendering voluntarily on April 27, 2023.

In the sentence, the judge informed that he had the right to appeal the sentence in the next 14 days. Likewise, Scola ordered the Bureau of Prisons to return the Venezuelan passport to the convict through his lawyer, the former prosecutor, Michael Nadler, once it has been confirmed that the accused turned himself in to serve the sentence.

It should be noted that the assets of Marín Sanguino, as well as those of his partner in the irregular negotiations in PDVSA, the former czar of the Orinoco Oil Belt, Pedro León Torres, have been the subject of controversy in the United States courts, since people designated as their figureheads have undertaken a series of proceedings in an attempt to seize the assets of the accused. Faced with these attempts, Judge Scola has stopped these initiatives by favoring the position of the prosecution that refused to do so[1].

Marín Sanguino was charged on April 21, 2022 by the United States Attorney's Office with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. In the corruption plot that has brought the former Chavista official to the dock in New York, he used his political position and power to benefit businessmen who supply goods and services to PDVSA and who are identified in the government's accusation as Co-conspirator 1 and 2. The second of these elements was identified by the prosecution as Carlos Enrique Urbano Fermín, owner of Constructora Cuferca CA, who is also being prosecuted for money laundering in a Florida court in which he pleaded guilty[ two].

On August 4, 2022, Robert N. Scola Jr., Judge for the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary forfeiture order against Jhonnathan Marín Sanguino.

The accusation against him contemplated the confiscation of all property, real estate or personal property that derived from the profits attributable to the crime of conspiracy to commit money laundering that was charged to him. On June 23, 2022, the court accepted the guilty plea that Marín Sanguino presented and in which he agreed to a money forfeiture sentence in the amount of USD 3,800,000.

Said amount is equivalent to the bribes that Jhonnathan Marín Sanguino received between 2013 and 2017 when he served as mayor of Guanta (Anzoátegui state) in exchange for influencing the PDVSA officials in charge of approving millionaire contracts to the companies that appear in the indictment and are identified as Co-conspirator 1 and 2, which provided goods and services to the oil company. The payments of the aforementioned bribes were made through bank accounts in Florida banks.

Marín Sanguino received the money in accounts controlled by him, relatives and others, which was partly used to purchase properties in Florida.

Judge Scola issued the forfeiture judgment for USD 3,800,000 against Jhonnathan Teodoro Marín Sanguino and authorized the discovery that leads to the identification, location or disposition of forfeited assets and to resolve any request from third parties.



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