FCPA guilty plea in PDVSA bribery case

A dual U.S.-Venezuelan citizen pleaded guilty Monday to bribing officials at Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and laundering bribe money others paid to the officials.

Luis Carlos De Leon-Perez, 42, pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

De Leon was arrested in Spain in October 2017.

He was extradited to the United States after a federal grand jury in Texas indicted him and four other defendants. The four others, all Venezuelan citizens, are former employees of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. or PDVSA.

All five were charged with one or more counts of money laundering and money-laundering conspiracy.

De Leon and another defendant, Nervis Gerardo Villalobos Cardenas, were also charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.

Villalobos is still in Spain pending extradition, the DOJ said.

The DOJ has charged 15 defendants in the case. Twelve have now pleaded guilty.

De Leon is schedule to be sentenced on September 24.

Money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. FCPA-related offenses are punishable by up to five years in prison.

One of PDVSA vendors, Jose Shiera, 55, of Coral Gables, Florida, pleaded guilty in March 2016 to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and commit wire fraud and one count of violating the FCPA.

Another vendor, Roberto Rincon, 58, of The Woodlands, Texas, pleaded guilty in June 2016 to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, one count of violating the FCPA, and one count of making false statements on his 2010 federal income tax return.

Rincon and Shiera are waiting to be sentenced.

The FCPA Blog | July 16, 2018