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Spain to Extradite Hugo Chávez’s Former Nurse to U.S.

Democratizar, El American

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[Leer en español]

The Spanish National Court confirmed the extradition of the former nurse of Hugo Chávez and former head of the Venezuelan Treasury, Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, to the United States, accused of money laundering and other crimes.

Diaz Guillen is accused of favoring businessman Raul Gorrin in a foreign currency exchange scheme that reported profits of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The magistrates, in an order known this Friday, rejected the appeal filed by Díaz Guillén against her surrender, approved last October.

The court argues that the facts attributed by the American justice to the defendant and that it typifies as a criminal association to commit money laundering and two crimes of laundering of monetary instruments, have an equivalent in Spain, a requirement for extradition.

U.S. authorities have established that Gorrín paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to secure the right to participate in currency exchange transactions that brought him millions of dollars in profits.

According to the extradition request, those involved in the scheme used bank accounts whose holders were shell companies to conceal the payments that allowed Raúl Gorrín to conduct foreign currency exchanges for the Venezuelan dictatorship and secure an undue advantage in acquiring the right to conduct such currency exchange transactions.

“And numerous bribe payments were disguised for the benefit of Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén”, the complaint adds, making payments to her husband, Adrián Velásquez Figueroa, who was Hugo Chávez’s bodyguard and whose extradition for these same crimes, but processed in a separate proceeding, was also given the green light by the Audiencia Nacional.

The Spanish magistrates highlight that the masking of the amounts transferred through fictitious companies is what implies the laundering of the bribe money to Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén.

According to the complaint of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, from 2008 to 2017 Gorrín Belisario, together with Díaz Guillén and her husband, participated with others in a “corrupt scheme” in relation to the exchange of foreign currency carried out by the Venezuelan regime in exchange for bribes.

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