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Spain Confirms Extradition of Chavez’s Former Bodyguard to U.S.

Justicia española confirma la entrega de exguardaespaldas de Chávez a Estados Unidos

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[Leer en español]

The Spanish National Court rejected the appeal filed by Adrián Velásquez, a former bodyguard to former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, so that he would not be extradited to the United States, which claims him for an alleged crime of money laundering.

According to what was known this Wednesday, the plenary session of the Criminal Chamber of the Audiencia Nacional rejected the appeal filed by Velásquez against the order which gave the green light to his extradition, just a few weeks after it also approved the surrender of his wife, the former national treasurer of Venezuela, Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén.

The DOJ claims they allegedly favored Raúl Gorrín, owner of the Venezuelan TV channel Globovisión, in a foreign currency exchange scheme that brought him hundreds of millions of dollars in profits.

The Spanish court recalls that these facts would constitute in Spain a crime of money laundering committed within a criminal organization, among others, a requirement for extradition, and denies that Velasquez has provided elements “that allow affirming that the United States has a penitentiary structure that is not compatible with the respect due to human dignity.”

According to the extradition request from the Southern District Court of Florida, from 2008 through 2017 or thereabouts, Gorrín and the couple engaged in a corrupt scheme in connection with the exchange of foreign currency made for the Venezuelan government.

Authorities suspect that Gorrín paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure the right to engage in foreign exchange transactions, which netted him hundreds of millions of dollars in profits.

Beginning in 2011, the brief continues, Gorrín offered, promised, authorized and paid bribes to the then treasurer, including through her husband, to influence her to engage in foreign currency exchanges for the Venezuelan government.

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