Defendant is linked to Venezuelan navy

Por Venezuela Real - 29 de Agosto, 2008, 19:39, Categoría: Prensa Internacional

El Nuevo Herald
August 29, 2008

New information has surfaced from a motion filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Miami regarding the case of South Florida part-time resident Franklin Duran, a Venezuelan businessman accused of acting illegally as an agent of a foreign government.

According to the motion, Duran was holding a credential issued to him by the Venezuelan navy when he was arrested in South Florida by federal authorities late last year.

The credential constitutes the first proof of Duran's alleged official links to the government of Venezuela.

Duran's lawyer, Ed Shohat, has countered that in Venezuela it is quite common for not only the armed forces but also the intelligence service to issue honorary credentials to prominent civilians.

Thursday's court action follows a motion presented Wednesday by federal prosecutors, alleging that both Duran and his associate, Carlos Kauffmann, paid enormous bribes to officials from the Venezuelan Ministries of Finance and Education, the state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the Venezuelan National Guard and state politicians from the Venezuelan provinces of Vargas and Cojedes.

According to one allegation that was filed as part of the motion, both Kauffmann and Duran distributed $23.8 million in bribes to four officials from the Venezuelan Ministry of Finance.

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