Venezuelan man indicted in U.S. for money laundering linked to Petropiar oil venture

 (Reuters) – A Venezuelan man has been indicted for allegedly laundering the proceeds of inflated procurement contracts obtained via millions of dollars in bribes to officials at Venezuelan oil venture Petropiar, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday.

Rixon Moreno, 46, allegedly received benefits including over $30 million in payments on contracts from Petropiar to accounts in South Florida and paid millions of dollars in bribes to senior Petropiar officials, the agency said in a statement.

“Illustrative of this, Moreno received approximately $2.7 million from a Petropiar contract to supply breathing devices, a contract whose price had been allegedly inflated to 100 times the actual cost,” the statement reads.

Moreno agreed to pay a $1 million bribe to a Venezuelan state official to install another person as a high-ranking official in Petropiar’s procurement department, according to the statement.

A federal grand jury in Miami returned an indictment charging Moreno with crimes including conspiracy to commit money laundering, concealment money laundering, and engaging in transactions involving criminally derived property.

Petropiar is a joint venture between Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and U.S. oil company Chevron Corp (CVX.N).

PDVSA and Chevron did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

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