The Spanish Audiencia Nacional approved the extradition of the former national treasurer of Venezuela Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén to the United States, which claims her for money laundering and criminal organization for favoring Raúl Gorrín, one of the biggest front men and contractor of Chavism, in a foreign currency exchange scheme.
In an order announced this Friday, the magistrates consider that the requirements for extradition have been met for crimes that in the United States are typified as a criminal association to commit money laundering and two crimes of laundering of monetary instruments.
According to the complaint of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, from 2008 to 2017 Gorrín Belisario, together with Díaz Guillén and her husband Adrián Velásquez Figueroa 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.
Guillén is known as the nurse of the late ex-president Hugo Chávez and her husband, who was her bodyguard, has pending for the Audiencia Nacional to also rule on her extradition for the same facts.
In 2019, the Spanish National Court refused to extradite Guillén and her husband, as well as an accountant of the state-owned oil company PDVSA, to Venezuela, due to the situation the country is going through, which it considered endangered their integrity.
Now, it accepts the surrender to the United States of the former head of the Venezuelan Treasury in light of the documentation provided by the authorities of that country last year.
According to this documentation, Gorrín paid hundreds of millions of dollars to secure the right to participate in foreign exchange transactions that earned him hundreds of millions of dollars.
In his scheme, Gorrín, along with others, promised, authorized and made corrupt payments to Venezuelan regime officials, including two national treasurers, Alejandro Andrade Cedeno and Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén, “in order to secure an undue advantage in obtaining and retaining the right to engage in foreign currency exchange transactions at favorable rates.”
To conceal the payments, according to the US authorities’ documentation, Gorrín used bank accounts whose holders were shell companies and disguised numerous bribe payments to Díaz Guillén by making the payments to her husband instead of to her directly.
Between 2011 and 2013, the businessman made bribe payments of at least $65 million for the benefit of the defendant through transfers from Swiss accounts to the United States.
In addition to the bribes, Gorrín also bought and paid for expenses related to private planes, yachts, mansions, champion horses, watches and other luxury items.
In their resolution, the Spanish magistrates reject the arguments of the defendant to oppose extradition, among them that she is already being investigated for the same facts in Spain, as well as that having obtained Spanish nationality in April 2021 would be cause to deny the surrender.
Regarding the first of the arguments, the judges conclude that these are not the same facts for which she is being investigated in this country and, with respect to the Spanish nationality as a cause for refusal, as well as her roots, they consider that the factors for refusing the extradition of nationals, such as the weighting of the seriousness and the ties or roots in the country, are not present.