(CNN Spanish) — Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, who was treasurer of Venezuela during the government of the late President Hugo Chávez, was extradited this Thursday to the United States from Spain, ireported this Friday on Twitter the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In the publication, ICE indicates that Díaz Guillén arrived in South Florida this Thursday to respond to charges related to money laundering.
The former Venezuelan official and her husband —Adrián José Velásquez Figueroa— were charged in December 2020 in a court in the Southern District of Florida, the US Department of Justice reported at the time.
According to US prosecutors and the indictment, Díaz and her husband —who was part of the late President Hugo Chávez’s security team— would have received “millions of dollars” in bribes from Raúl Gorrín, owner of the television station Globovisión in Venezuela, who, according to The file sought to have preferential access to the purchase of dollars in Venezuela between 2008 and 2017, years in which an exchange control regime was in force in that country.
Another former treasurer of the Hugo Chávez government, Alejandro Andrade Cedeño, sentenced in November 2018 on money laundering charges, was also accused in that plot.
According to the Department of Justice, as part of his guilty plea, Andrade admitted that he received more than $1 billion in bribes from Gorrín and other accomplices in exchange for using his position to allow them to carry out foreign exchange transactions at preferential prices.
Gorrín allegedly “transferred money to and for the benefit” of the defendants, which was used for “private jets, yachts, houses, horses, high-end watches and a fashion line,” the Justice Department explained at the time.
Gorrín, who lives in Venezuela and has been declared a fugitive by the US justice system, defended himself last November in a series of messages on Twitter, where he denied the accusations and said that “the American prosecutor’s office not only promotes a motivated narrative for political interests, but does so without evidence of any kind”.
In another message, he said that the authorities of this country intended to link him to Díaz and Velásquez with “false evidence.” Since then he has not spoken publicly on the subject. CNN is trying to contact him again regarding Diaz’s extradition.
For their part, Díaz and her husband were arrested in Spain in 2018 and at the end of 2021, the National Court of the European country approved their extradition to the United States.
CNN tries to find out the exact whereabouts of Velásquez in Spain and when he could be extradited to the US.
This Friday, Díaz had his initial hearing in a West Palm Beach court, his Florida lawyer, Marissel Descalzo, confirmed to CNN.
Descalzo said Diaz will plead not guilty to all charges in court on Tuesday.
In addition to being treasurer, Díaz Guillén managed the Fund for National Development (Fonden) between 2011 and 2013.
Pau Mosquera, Alfredo Meza, and Osmary Hernández contributed to this report.