The Spanish National Court gave the green light to the extradition of Adrián Velásquez, former bodyguard of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, to the United States, where he is wanted for an alleged crime of money laundering.
The extradition of Velásquez follows that of his wife, the former national treasurer of Venezuela, Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, extradited by the Audiencia Nacional on October 15, also claimed by the United States for having allegedly favored Raúl Gorrín, one of the great contractors of Chavism, in a foreign currency exchange scheme, which reported profits of hundreds of millions of dollars to him.
In the order endorsing the surrender of Velásquez, known this Wednesday, the court considers that the facts for which both are accused in the United States, money laundering, have an equivalent in Spain, are punished with more than one year of imprisonment and are not prescribed, so the requirements for extradition are met.
According to the extradition request from the Southern District Court of Florida, from 2008 through 2017 or thereabouts, Gorrín and the Velasquez-Diaz couple engaged in a corrupt scheme in connection with the exchange of foreign currency made for the Venezuelan government.
Authorities suspect that Gorrín paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to secure the right to participate 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 regime.
In addition to the bribes paid through wire transfers for the benefit of the couple, explains the US extradition request, Gorrín also bought and paid for properties and luxury items for both of them.
In view of the defense’s allegations regarding the Spanish nationality of the defendant, granted on April 20 of this year, there is no evidence that it was acquired through fraud, but the Audiencia Nacional clarifies that it is within the court’s power to grant the surrender.