US arrests son-in-law of Antonio Ledezma, wanted for money laundering

The United States Office of National Security Investigations, linked to that country’s National Security Department, reported on Thursday the arrest of Argentine businessman Luis Augusto Vutef, son-in-law of former mayor Antonio Ledezma .

Via its Twitter account, the American agency indicated that Vuteff was wanted by the United States because of his alleged role in a network of laundering of 1,200 million dollars which was obtained fraudulently from Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). . .

On July 12, Antonio Ledzema’s son-in-law and fellow businessman Ralph Steinman was indicted in the United States over the bribery scheme, alleging the two “communicated with others” from around December 2014 to at least August 2018. Conspired to launder the profits of an illegal corruption scheme, using multiple bank accounts located in the US financial system as well as overseas.

If found guilty, they face up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to launder money.

Luis Fernando Vutef was first arrested in Spain in mid-October 2018 amid Operation Carabella against corruption linked to money laundering in Venezuela, as reported in that country’s press at the time. ‘era.

The action led to the capture of Nervis Villalobos, the former deputy minister for electric energy, and the seizure of more than 130 properties in Madrid and Marbella valued at over 72 million euros. Vuteff has Argentine nationality and is the companion of Antonieta Ledezma Capriles, daughter of the former mayor and his wife Mitzi, and was the most active family figure in defending her father’s cause.

Subsequently, the Spanish justice ordered preventive detention for him and Villalobos. After being granted conditional release on pain of prosecution, he left illegally for Switzerland, where he was again arrested by the police, as the media had already announced on 25 June. He was facing an extradition request from the United States.

US officials assured that at least 600 million dollars had been obtained in Venezuela thanks to an exchange control mechanism, a tool that allowed to increase the value of the initial investment, and that the accused had at least $600 million. The other planned to embezzle more dollars.

Ed Shoet, the lawyer for Antonio Ledezma’s son-in-law, said in early August 2022 that his client was not opposed to his extradition to the US because all he wants is to ‘reinstate’ the charges held against him.

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