We love indictments. Well, not those used against news media by corrupt regimes, but the ones wielded by honest, accountable prosecutors against suspicious oligarchs, money launderers, and abusers of the public trust. With subpoenas and the power of the courts behind them, good prosecutors are able to track the movement of money and the scope of a criminal conspiracy in ways that most journalists can only dream about.
Here’s an indictment that caught our eye at GIJN: A recently unsealed document from the US Department of Justice last month, alleging that Venezuelan television mogul Raul Gorrin Belisario was part of a billion-dollar currency exchange and money laundering scheme that paid off high-level Venezuelan government officials, including the nation’s former treasurer Alejandro Andrade.
Belisario is no ordinary exile. A billionaire based in Miami, he is owner of the Globovision news network. Belisario’s 2013 purchase of the station killed the last TV channel to challenge official censorship and turned it into a government mouthpiece for the regime of Nicolás Maduro.
Belisario allegedly bribed Venezuelan officials through gifting show horses, luxury watches, cars and property. In return, the indictment charges, he was to secure the rights to conduct foreign currency exchanges for the Venezuelan government.
The indictment, filed on Aug. 16, 2018 in the Southern District of Florida, charges Belisario with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and nine counts of money laundering.